Header image

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 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 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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:

Next Weekend: Watkin’s Glen

No no don’t panic- I am still epically single.  There is no wedding and thus no NASCAR drivers invading it. However– and I know I have mentioned this before– but I LOVE the Gillette Fusion ProGlide wedding commercial. I had never seen the extended version- which is even better. Don’t believe me? Watch for yourself:

I don’t know which parts I find more funny- Ryan Newman’s“How you doin’?” or Clint Bowyer and the bridesmaid talking about going fast…both make me laugh!!

How can you not find that humorous? If you don’t, you might want to see your doctor and see if someone stole your funny bone in the middle of the night while you were sleeping.

There is an extended version of the BigFoot ProGlide commercial too that is funny:

My favorite part there? Denny Hamlin threatening to take Big Foot’s pine cones… proclaiming him a bad loser.

You can check out these and other Gillette Fusion ProGlide commercials (the yoga and the mullet ones are both funny too) at the Gillette YouTube channel.

Attention Stewart-Haas Racing fans in Indiana or attending the Brickyard 400 next week- there are some exciting autograph appearances heading your way next week in conjunction with the race. Both Stewart-Haas Racing drivers will be doing separate autograph appearances at Office Depot locationss in Indiana on different days:

Driver Ryan Newman will be signing autographs on Wednesday July 21st at the Office Depot located in Noblesville, Indiana (located at: 16650 Mercantile Boulevard /Stoney Creek Commons, Noblesville, Indiana 46060).  375 wristbands will be distributed at the location starting at 8:30 am local time.  You must have a wristband to get an autograph. Ryan will begin signing autographs at approximately 4:00pm local time. Fans with wristbands MUST be in line before 5:oo pm.

Driver Tony Stewart will be signing autographs on Thursday July 22nd at the Office Depot located in Carmel, Indiana (12417 North Meridian Street (Hamilton Crossing) in Carmel, Indiana). 350 wristbands will be distributed at the location starting at 8:00 am local time.   You must have a wristband to get an autograph.  Tony will begin signing autographs at approximately 3:00 pm. Fans with wristbands MUST be in line before 3:30 pm.

With both appearances, there is one autograph per wristband and one wristband per person limit.

If you can attend I highly reccomend that you do- it’s always a blast!

UPDATED: We have also found out that Tony Stewart will be appearing at the Team Chevy booth at the Brickyard Friday July 23rd at 12:30 local time. Driver appearances at the Team Chevy booth start at 11:00.   Visit the Team Chevy booth at the Indianapolis Motorspeedway for more information.

Well first off, I hope all of you out there had a great 4th of July holiday!  I had a friend in town (MISTY! YEY!) over the long weekend and believe me did we ever make the most out of the couple of days we had! Believe it or not? Our plans had NO FIREWORKS in it at all. Speaking of fireworks…the July race in Daytona will ALWAYS be the Firecracker 400 to me.  Coke Zero- you know I love you…at least you should since I swill enough of it to float a pontoon boat.

Of course we worked all of our fun around watching the race.  I admit I was a wee bit worried that it would rain all night in Daytona and our Sunday plans would have been ruined- but luckily they were able to get the race underway with just a 90 minute delay for a thunderstorm that passed through.

There I go getting ahead of myself though- so while I was out and about something happened during practice and Tony ended up wrecking in the primary car and resorting to a back up car.  One of the things that irritates me the most about Daytona is the fact that one lap my driver can be running 5th and the next 35th…all depending on how the draft was working out.   Tony was working his car towards the front of the race and even led the race twice (yey for bonus points for leading a lap) only to be caught up in “The BIG ONE” on lap 148 pf the race.  This “Big One” was aptly named because 19 cars were involved in the accident.  It was huge.  Although if you were watching the TNT race coverage you would think that the only car that was on fire was Mark Martins.  Nope…as Misty said…I guess Tony’s Burger King sponsored car took “flame broiled” a bit too literal:

Tony Stewart bursts into flames after a late race crash in turn three during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on July 3, 2010. UPI Photo/Malcolm Hope Photo via Newscom

Tony Stewart bursts into flames after a late race crash in turn three during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on July 3, 2010. UPI Photo/Malcolm Hope Photo via Newscom

That picture caption up there is NOT something I wrote …I just had to point that out- they are written by the source of the photos…because I would have never worded it “Tony Stewart bursts into flames” because that makes it sound like the man spontaneously combusted or something….I just had to clarify that.  Anyway, those flames look like they are right on my name. My name was probably all melted and charred.

After seeing a photo like that you might be surprised to know that Tony’s pit crew did an awesome job fixing up the 14 Burger King chevy and were actually able to get him back on the track.  You might be surprised to find this out because TNT never really mentioned it at all.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JULY 03: Tony Stewart, driver of the  Burger King Chevrolet, drives after being involved in a crash during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart, driver of the Burger King Chevrolet, drives after being involved in a crash during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

 

You can see from the above picture that the crew got Tony’s car back out on the track- granted it didn’t look the same.  From the Tony Stewart  Facebook race report:

“Really proud of everyone on this race team,” said Stewart, who started ninth after qualifying was rained out on Friday and the field was set by car owner points. “Everyone had a role and they worked quickly and efficiently to get me back out to make enough laps to where we ended up picking up a lot of positions. Little things like that make a big difference.”

I think Tony and the whole #14 crew should be really proud of getting back onto the track and not giving up and just loading up the hauler and heading back up to Charlotte.  Tony was able to gain back several positions (7!) and really didn’t too much of a hit in the points. Tony finished the race 25th and is currently 9th in points.  Race winner was Kevin Harvick. Notes About Daytona:

  • TNT’s Wide Open Coverage? Kind of stinks when you have a small TV. I am just saying.  I also find it kind of stressful because I don’t feel I have a moment’s break.
  • Speaking of TNT- you know what was kind of sucktastic about the broadcast?  That they never really talked about Tony after “the big one” and honestly they didn’t really talk too much about him before it.  But the only thing I heard about Tony was “Tony Stewart (long pause that made Misty look over at me with a worried look) released from the infield care center.” Yep that is all they said.  It would have been nice to grab a look at the team repairing the car in the garage or maybe the car as it rolled back out onto the track or something…anything.
  • I forgot how FUN it is to watch a race with Misty. She is competitive and it definitely spills over into her NASCAR loving.
  • My favorite moment from the race was watching the Lowe’s pit crew guys drag Mark Martin from his burning car…it was so brave and yes I know they are teammates but I bet they wouldn’t have done it not matter who it was. Good thing  Mark Martin is on the smallish side and was probably a bit easier to help get out of the car!
  • Did anyone else catch the Burger King commercial about Tony actually working at a Burger King? I have looked ALL OVER for more information on this and haven’t found any. Let me know if you come across any information…I would love to write about this.
  • I also wanted to pass along this article from Raygan Swan at NASCAR.com about a woman who got her minivan skinned by Newman sponsor TORNADOS as well as got to visit him in Daytona…it’s a great read.

Next week: Chicago at Night! Whoo!

I can’t even remember the last time I did a bullet post for you all and I have some NASCAR thoughts to share that don’t deserve their own post but deserve to be mentioned:

  • My fantasy league? I haven’t even checked my standings for the last month or so because I was sure I was tanking. I checked today. Confirmed- am definitely TANKING! I am currently 85th out of 114!!  I blame the majority of this on Brian Vicker’s blood clots. I picked him as one of my drivers because he tends to be up there towards the front.  But now that he’s out of the seat the team hasn’t been doing so hot. Bah.  Tony and Dale Jr have been doing better- so they are the reason I went up 2 places after Sonoma  (yeah see 87th not so hot) so YEY for that but this is just a sad sad team this year. (By the way- I still love Brian Vickers…I really do and I don’t honestly blame him for my team tanking).
  • We are 10 races away from the CHASE cut off. Don’t think I don’t know that and don’t think that just because Tony’s moved back up into the top ten (YEY GO TONY GO!!!!) that I have relaxed one bit about watching points.  Of course I have been watching points since Daytona…so that says nothing.  I know Tony says he’s not worried about it…but…I am.
  • So you probably noticed my Sonoma post, while it had a pretty picture left much to be desired? It was because I was bummed I wasn’t there like I was last year.  Oh and…I know that Valli would cover it well and in depth. Which she is doing- she got the chance to interview more drivers -so be sure to check out The Fast and the Fabulous for that…she also came up with a catchy title for one of her Sonoma posts: To Infineon and Beyond…why can’t I think of good titles like that?. Oh and she got to experience the confrontation between Said’s crew chief and Tony Stewart first hand. Check that out here…and while you are there look for the  picture of Kevin Harvick hugging Tony’s dad…while Tony squats and messes with his shoe…cute!
  • For those of you in New Hampshire, Ryan Newman will be signing autographs at his merch trailer tomorrow June 25th from 3:30 -4:30 (time subject to change based on qualifying draw- check the trailer for more information).
  • Don’t forget that if you own a small business you should enter the The Official Small Business of NASCAR contest from Office Depot Racing.
  • You also have a little more than a month to buy your raffle ticket for Smoke’s Camaro. You have the change to win a bitchin’ 2010 Chevy Camaro customized by Unique Autosports. Proceeds benefit the Tony Stewart Foundation and their many initiatives supporting criticially ill children, various animal charities and injured drivers.  Go to SMOKESCAMARO.com for more information.

If you have heard Tony Stewart do any media lately- invariably someone asks him about the team’s performance and he invariably responds with a variation of  “we aren’t in panic mode yet when it comes to the points.”  Well I hate to tell him this…but I am.  I can’t tell you the number of emails and texts I have sent back and forth with my best friend Misty stating something along the lines of “AHHHH that sucked for our points! OMG What if we don’t make the chase?” To which she always replies something along the lines of “Don’t worry- you can’t keep Stewart down.” So I watch the races and hope for a top ten, top five, a win.

I learned a long time ago- not to worry too horribly much about Tony’s qualifying position.  That’s not to say that I don’t get excited when he qualifies well (like a POLE!) but when he does mediocre- I don’t fret…too much.  He qualified 17th this week.  He worked his way up a tad.  During the first caution Darian called for only 2 tires which gained Tony a whole bunch of track position.  After that Tony remained in the top ten most of the day- only falling out after one pit stop where apparently they suffered a freak mishap where a lugnut from the tire coming off the car flew into the wheel hub and had to be removed before the new tire was secured.  The race itself was pretty quiet and only had four cautions.

Tony ended up finishing 5th bringing him into 11th in the points standings and back into the race for the Chase.  Last week Tony got a pretty good finish in Pocono (3rd) but he didn’t seem pleased with how he got it. This week he seemed to feel that they deserved it:

That’s the best car we’ve had in a long time, so I’m really proud of our guys. We’re definitely gaining on it. I felt racy today. It was a pretty good day for the Old Spice/Office Depot Chevy.– Tony Stewart via Team Release

Teammate Ryan Newman finished 32nd.  He is now 15th in the points standings, falling one spot.   Race winner was Denny Hamlin.

Next week: We are off to Sonoma.  I was there last year in person. Wish I was going again this year!

So the evil little tricky triangle- the place that holds the spot as being the first points paying win for Stewart-Haas racing.  Tony qualified fairly well- even holding the pole position for awhile but as usually happens with early qualifying draws he was knocked off the pole eventually.  He still  started avery respectable 6th for the days race.   I turned on the race that morning.  Then came the rain.  I get very restless during rain delays so I honestly don’t know how the drivers can NOT.  It poured for what looked like a good 15-20 minutes. Then it would take time to dry the track (and patch a small hole apparently- but I missed that part completely).

I found the best way to spend a rain delay though! It’s across the street at my brother’s house playing with my nephews.  Ok technically only MXM is old enough for play…which we did both inside and out (that boy loves to play with his plastic lawn mower- I say enjoy it now because I doubt he will want to mow when he’s old enough to do the real thing).  But I did get JXM (who is now 15 weeks old or so) to laugh pretty hard- and who doesn’t love toothless, gummy baby laughs?  That rocked. But then it was back to the race.

Tony spent most of the race in between positions 12 and 21.  It did get exciting when pit stops came under caution at around lap 160.  Crew chief Darian Grubb called Tony in and they packed the number 14 full of fuel, planning on staying out no matter what happened to gain track position.  Of course I wasn’t listening to my Trackpass Scanner at this time so I had no idea what they were planning.   When there was another caution on lap 169- a lot of the cars in front of Tony (who was 16th or 17th at this time) came in to pack their cars with fuel. This put Tony into second place behind Kurt Busch.   I always get nervous when the national broadcast shows Tony puttering around under caution flipping his car on and off.  Even before they said it I am exclaimed “look- he’s saving fuel! Arg this could get ugly if this race ends up going to three green-white-checkers!!!”

The field took off at the green and it was looking good for Tony. He was second! Then…right before the last lap there was the Harvick-Logano tangle that caused Logano to spin and put the field into it’s first Green-White-Checker. Not to mention that this bunched the field back up.  So now not only did I have to worry about the fuel situation (don’t you love how I say I have to worry about it…like I am the one on top of the pit box crunching numbers…or even know what numbers to crunch…trust me- you don’t want me crunching numbers). I now also have to worry about Tony getting shuffled back or someone driving like an idiot to get to the front and crashing into Tony.  I was very much  on the edge of my seat.  Denny Hamlin jumped out into the lead and Tony was second with Kyle Busch on his tail.  Tony would eventually be passed by Busch but still came in third despite a horrendous last lap crash (no further green-white-checker since race leader had taken the white flag) happening that seemed to collect about half the field.

With his third place finish Tony moved up to 13th in the points standings, one point out of the top 12 chase.  Teammate Ryan Newman, who crossed the finish line with a damaged car- having been part of that last lap melee finished 14th, dropping him to 14th in the standings, only 18 points out of the top 12.

Notes and Pictures from Pocono:

  • TNT race coverage bites.  They were having sound difficulties. That might have been due to the rain I guess.  But I have two major complaints about their coverage. Complaint one: their timing of commercial breaks sucks. I hate coming back from commercial to see cars in the pits.  I say break AFTER green flag pit stops not before. I know they know about when the drivers will be coming in- pay attention to that.  Complaint number 2: the handling of the last lap accident.  That was a pretty horrendous looking accident.  There were damaged cars ALL over that track.  Several drivers look HARD hits in that wreck!  TNT, while they showed the wreck several times did not update us on driver conditions except for Kasey Kahne. And while yeah- Kasey appeared to take one of the harder hits there were other drivers there…I mean I saw a paramedic leaned into Jeff Gordon’s window and then they never said ANYTHING about his condition.  They did happen to catch a brief glimpse of Jeff Gordon walking past Kasey during his post race interview but if you happened to be looking down you would have missed that.
  • One of my favorite moments from the race? Was seeing Ryan Newman limp his car across the start-finish line. NOT because I wish any ill will against Ryan at all- but because he had the gusto to fight hard to pull that beat-up car across the start finish! Go Ryan!
  • In his after race comments Tony said that “There’s days like today where you’re not proud of how you got there, but you take it anyway because you know for every one you get like this, there’s one that gets robbed from you the same way” (credit team release). I don’t know why you wouldn’t be  proud of it. Sure he didn’t come in first but he came in top 5.  Fuel mileage is just as much a part of the “game” as anything else. Be proud Tony! Darian did good calling you in and you saved enough fuel. YEY.
  • Speaking of NASCAR being a game…I am loving the NASCAR “everything else is just a game” ads. LOVE THEM. Especially this one.
  • I am sure by now you have all heard about the post race fireworks between Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick.  Judging by what I saw on the TV- the accident was nobody’s fault.  To me it looked like Joey got a little loose and came down the track across Kevin’s nose. The pushing and shoving thing? Sure it adds to excitement and it’s all in the heat of the moment.  Joey may have been pushing on his own team guys (and his dad) but that is just youth.  I would rather see this then Joey go out on the track and hunt down Kevin and try to put him in the wall (ala Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski).  These things happen, drivers need to push/shove/yell get it out of their system and move on.  I don’t think that insulting Kevin through his wife Delana was necessarily called for…but again-that was probably youth talking.  And what a great sound bite…and Delana has turned it into a shirt (I wear the firesuit in my family).  I kind of want one…but it wouldn’t really work for me since I am not married. I still LOVE the shirt idea. UPDATED: You too can have a I Wear The Firesuit In My Family shirt.
  • Am I the only one who thought Carl Edwards absconded away with Mark Martin’s car? I mean the paint scheme on that 99 car looked like something you would see on Mark’s car.

Did Carl steal Mark Martin's car?? Carl Edwards sports a different paint scheme at Pocono. Photo Credit: Glenn Bure

  • Speaking of drivers stealing from each other…are Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart sharing sunglasses? Ok probably not- but still I want to point out that they were wearing the same Oakleys.  Ok I might be pointing this out only to be able to showcase some photos provided to me. So what. Case in point:

Pay attention to Kasey Kahne's Oakley sunglasses here. Photo credit: Glenn Bure

The same sunglasses Kasey was wearing! They look better on Tony IMO. Photo Credit: Glenn Bure

Gratuitous Martin Truex Jr Picture for Lauren! Photo taken at Pocono Driver Intros. Photo Credit: Glenn Bure

  • Speaking of photos,  reader and commenter @KevinMBoots77 was at the Pocono race (his first time at the tricky triangle) and had a great time despite getting a little soggy. He agreed to let me direct you all to his Pocono photo gallery for the race. I highly suggest you all check it out- he got some great pictures.
  • Ok you all talked me into it. One more gratuitous picture…this time for me. It’s Tony during driver intros of course:

I couldn't help it...he's kind of smiling and everything. Photo Credit: Glenn Bure

A big thanks goes to Glenn Bure for the photos you see here (I have some more from Glenn of Tony on Trackside I will share later this week)…and to Kevin Boots for sharing his pictures with me and with you!

Next week:  Michigan