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If you are in the Charlotte area (LUCKY) and have the time you may want to check out these Stewart-Haas driver appearances:

Ryan Newman has an autograph session TOMORROW May 26th at the Bass Pro Shop at the Concord Mills Mall (address is 8111 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord NC) from 5:00pm -7:00pm local time.

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Ryan Newman has an autograph session at the Kraft Racing Display on Tryon Street (between 4th Street and Trade Street) from 5:00pm to 7:00pm local time on Friday May 28th.  There will be 300 wristbands distributed starting at 12:00pm on Friday.  For more information visit Food Lion Speed Street Event website.

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Also I know I mentioned this before but it bears repeating…Tony Stewart will be doing an autograph Session on Friday May 28th at the Office Depot in Pineville, NC (9610 Pineville Matthews Road, Pineville NC). The event till take place at 4:00pm local time. There will be 700 wristbands distributed starting at 8:00am local time at the Office Depot.

I highly encourage any Tony or Ryan fan to attend one of their personal appearances- they are always a great time.  Well I only have actual experience with Tony’s so far…but I am sure Ryan’s are fun too!!

First I am actually going to start with the Pit Crew Challenge…I LOVE the Pit Crew Challenge. LOVE IT! I love it so much I purposely stayed off of Twitter because I KNEW it was a delayed broadcast on SpeedTV and I wanted to watch it without knowing who the winner was. Each run I would pick a team and root for them…loud enough for Roxy to go nap in her “safe place” while I watched. The best part of this year’s Pit Crew Challenge was watching Tony Gibson’s show of excitement when Ryan Newman’s US Army pit crew bested the 48 pit crew. All three Stewart-Haas pit crews did extremely well and should be proud! Denny Hamlin’s pit crew ended up winning the Pit Crew Challenge!

I watched the Showdown and the All-Star race. And for the most part I thought the Showdown was a wee bit more exciting than the All-Star race…not that it wasn’t exciting. I love that the Pit Crews get to be a part of the driver introductions for the All-Star race. And what do I love even more? That a lot of the crews bring out goodies for the fans at Driver Intros to toss into the crowd. I saw hats, shirts, I couldn’t tell what Kyle was giving away– but it would make sense if it was M&Ms…Tony Stewart even bent down and handed a fan his full Coke bottle. Those are the kind of things fans love – trust me- I know. I am a fan…and I would love catching a hat, tshirt or even a bag of M&Ms (who doesn’t love M&Ms). I also LOVE that Kyle and his pit crew BOW during their introduction. I LOVE THAT!

The race format is confusing to my parents- but not to me. However I wasn’t not going to watch with them (hello 52 in Flat Screen with SpeedTV in HD- it made it worth explaining the format several times). I did let loose with some curse words when Tony ended up getting collected in the late race accident. I was impressed he was able to finish as well as he did (Tony came in 5th) because the car seemed pretty damaged to me. Of course a lot of the field ended up involved in that last incident.

Congrats to Kurt who brought home the cool million dollars.

NOTES ABOUT THE ALL-STAR RACE:

  • As much as I like Kyle Busch…I still don’t understand what the problem was between him and Denny. I didn’t see the offense.  I saw Denny defending his position not cutting Kyle off.  Of course I only saw what the TV showed…
  • Can ANYONE explain to me why Ryan Newman was positioned 8th on that last restart? It didn’t make any sense to me.
  • Did not Taylor Gibbs give the best invocation? That was adorable!
  • *How can I not reference the song you KNOW is running through your head when you think of the All-Star race.

Talladega should comes with mylanta or tums or something. Delana Harvick (@DelanaHarvick) tweeted it best when she said “Oy Vey”

Qualifying at the restrictor-plate race was cancelled as were all ontrack activities for Talladega as incliment weather entered the southeast area of the country.  This meant Tony started 13th -based on points (even though he was tied for 12th the tie breaker is apparently based on best average finish at which point Logano bested Stewart so far this season).  Stewart-Haas Racing was already down one car as Mark Martin sent Tony’s teammate Ryan Newman into the wall during last practice- so the 39 car resorted to a back-up car. 

The racing action did seem a little better this year- I will say that. It was more exciting. Tony even took a turn at leading for awhile towards the beginning of the race.  Then it seemed he fell back. While I was listening to his radio I honestly couldn’t tell if he was heading back there to play the waiting game or if he was back there because he lost the draft- either way he didn’t seemed to concerned so I wasn’t too concerned.  He didn’t think the balance was right on the second set of tires he ran and Darian told him later that he was right- the liner had come loose in on of the tires.  Anyway the pit stops seemed to go good. Everything seemed copestetic.  Heck at one point he even told a pretty damn funny joke.  He was in a good mood, I was in a good mood…it was all good. 

The two car break aways would happen and that particular duo would head towards the front for a bit. There were a record number of lead changes during the race.  I assume that this is because the drivers were pretty much using the first part of the race as a test session as to how long it would take to get to the front and how to time the swoop and dive for the lead. 

Within the last 20 laps thanks to a good pits stops Tony was in the top ten and by eight laps to go he was in second thanks to the two car breakaway as he teamed up with Dale Earnhardt Jr.  However, soon with manuevering becoming much hairier as the cars all jockeyed for position Tony got hung out and dropped significantly.

The race had the maximum of three green-white-checker, shootout or overdrives or whatever the heck they are calling it these days.  Luckily Tony was able to miss a couple of late race accidents and come in 16th.  On the radio after the race he immediately praised the crew and sounded disappointed as he apologized to the crew for not getting a better finish. By finishing 16th Tony has dropped down to 14th in the points 262 points behind points leader Jimmie Johnson.  Teammate Ryan Newman suffered an even more disappointing day as he was collected in a late race crash. Newman finished 35th which dropped him to 18th in the points. The race winner was Kevin Harvick who made a last lap pass on Jamie McMurray.

This race was one for the record books. It was the longest race at Talladega (532 miles) thanks to the extended overtimes. It also had the most lead changes (88) and the greatest number of leaders (29 which coincidently is the same number as the car number of race winner Kevin Harvick).

  • Personally I am enjoying the rivalry going on between Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. I really like that Jeff is standing up for himself and his crew and I will say that I don’t blame him- I would be pissed too.  I like that he isn’t just saying “Well we had a great car- and we did our best.” He’s mad and he’s telling us he’s mad. I like that- it bothers me when a driver gets out of his car and kind of glosses over the face that he’s pissed or upset or whatever.
  • I am thinking maybe Tony should ditch the whole paintscheme cars for awhile. I am starting to stress about points and his luck this season in the alternate paint schemes hasn’t been the best. 

That’s all I have. Next weekend we are at Richmond for some Saturday Night racing and I can’t wait!

Ahhh!!!!!! That is all I can really say about the race at Phoenix except that the night after the race I actually DREAMED about the race (more on that later).

The thing with this Phoenix race is that it starts in the afternoon and ends in the evening- so it goes from BRIGHT sun to DARK night…and what is interesting is that they say that those who do well during the light hours do not necessarily do so hot after the sun goes down behind the bleachers and that is exactly what happened to Tony Stewart.

I can see you in there!

I can see you in there Tony! Tony sports the Office Depot Grow Greener car at PIR. Not bad considering it was taken through a fence. (April 2010. Photo Credit: ME)

I don’t know exactly what happened. Tony led for awhile (YEY at least we got 5 points for that) and even when he wasn’t leading his car seemed to be a top ten car. Then I could have sworn I heard the announcer say something about contact between Gordon and Stewart and then he seemed to start dropping like someone had tied a 50 lb boat anchor to that fancy new spoiler.  I can not for the life of me however find ANYTHING on the national broadcast about the contact (nor on the team race report release)….so now I wonder if I didn’t dream that up.  In other words? The sun went down and for some reason Tony was struggling for the rest of the night. Was it handling problems due to contact? Was it handling problems due to a wrong set up? Did Digger actual succeed in tying previously mentioned boat anchor to Tony’s car when no one was looking? Did the #14 Office Depot Chevy suck too many bugs into the grill (seriously people the bugs? They were a freaking problem). The reason I do not know- but Tony finished the race 23rd.  I am sure he HAD to be frustrated with that finish because I know I was and I wasn’t the one sweltering in the heat in that car and firesuit. That finish dropped Tony to 9th in the points, 204 points behind the leader Jimmie Johnson.

However, one could not say it was a bad evening.  Why? Teammate Ryan Newman got his first win under the Stewart-Haas banner! I was extremely excited for Ryan and the number 39 team.  And I was excited that he won in the Tornados car because I actually find that paint scheme to be pretty. I like the orange and yellow against the black.  Plus Tornados are yummy.  Anyway…cogratulations to team Tornado!!

Notes About Phoenix:

  • So the dream…I dreamed that Chad Knaus was really pissed off about the 4 tire call at the last pit stop. Like lividly pissed. To the point he was telling media that anyone who took two tires were idiots.  I think this is the reason I dreamed that is that we were directly across from the 48 pitbox- pretty much at eye level with Knaus.  I couldn’t even see Tony’s pit from where I was…but it didn’t stop me from watching the 48 guys each and every pit stop.  They fascinate me (pitstops…not the 48 guys).  Anyway don’t believe me? Here is proof:

Chad Knaus watches his 48 crew in action. (PIR April 2010. Photo Credit: ME)

  • My DVR cut off the end of the National broadcast so I couldn’t even really revel in Ryan Newman’s win when I got home.  Bah. Dumb DVR.  At least I remembered to DVR SpeedTV’s Victory Lane just in case. Arg. Dumb DVR.
  • Tony Stewart’s firesuit was still the traditional Office Depot Red even though his car was white and green.  Now I am guessing it’s a bit expensive to make a new firesuit for the paint scheme….but it was just funny looking and if you look above at the picture of Tony in his car you can see he kinda sticks out in there because you can actually see him in there.
  • Some Pictures:

Ryan Newman during the parade lap. (April 2010 PIR. Photo Credit: ME)

Tony Stewart parade lap. Told you he wore his regular red firesuit. (April 2010. PIR. Photo Credit: ME)

So that’s the race summary.

This weekend we are in TEXAS where everything is bigger….including Tony Stewart’s starts (number 400!).

April 18th is the race at Texas Motor Speedway – it will be Tony Stewart’s 400th career start in the Sprint Cup series.   There are a couple of Tony Stewart events to keep my ardent Smoke fans occupied during non-race time hours at Texas Motor Speedway!

First off is the Ride of A Lifetime NASCAR Foundation event. You can bid on a chance to ride with Tony Stewart during his parade lap after driver introductions (teammate Ryan Newman is also participating as well as a whole slew of other drivers).  To bid on your chance you have to go to the live auction on April 17th.  Visit Speedway Children’s Charities to find out how you can bid on a chance to ride with Tony (or Ryan).

Also there will be an autograph session with Tony Stewart at the Office Depot in Grapevine, Texas on April 14th.  There will be 700 wristbands given out starting at 8:00 am on the day of the event in a first come first serve method. The event will begin at 4:00 pm and those with wristbands need to be in line no later than 5:00pm. The address of the Office Depot where the event will take place is: 1317 State Highway 114 West, Grapevine, Texas 76051.  Autographs are limited to one per person with wristband. I think that since the autograph session is on the 14th of the month- it’s gonna be a good day.

Hope you all have a great time!

Well I honestly can’t say a whole lot about Martinsville because I didn’t get to see it. It was rain delayed on Sunday and the DVR attempt didn’t work so honestly I have nothing. What really sucks about that is that I enjoy Martinsville- it is one of my favorite tracks to watch.

Apparently it was quite the finish- and while I have heard a couple of accounts of it from different sources they are all slightly different so I can’t really give my opinion on it.  It might have been a good thing for me that I didn’t see the race- I would have probably ended up in a bad mood since Tony didn’t do so well (sounds like he did great for the first 70 laps or so and then the handling on the car went away or changed and he and the Office Depot/Old Spice crew fought to chase it all day. Tony ended up finishing 2 laps down in 26th.  He dropped to 8th in the points standings.  Teammate Ryan Newman however, bagged his first top 5 of the season, finishing 4th at Martinsville. Denny Hamlin won the race. 

Easter weekend is an off week. Then NASCAR heads to another favorite track of mine: Phoenix.

I love watching short track racing. Martinsville is probably my favorite track to watch…but Bristol is a close second. There is something about the close quarters.  I had heard on Saturday that there was a good chance of rain on Sunday so I was wondering if they would even be able to start the race- and luckily…they not only were able to start it but they were able to finish it too (although there were two yellow flags because of rain- but the cars never had to leave the track for it).

Tony qualified eleventh which was great considering that he didn’t seem to have the speed during practice.  Tony spent most of the race flirting with and breaking into the top ten, then falling out a bit then (usually after pit stops) back into the top ten.  It really was that last pit stop and the call to take two tires that really put Tony in the position he was in. Unfortunately not only did Jimmie have his supercar (seriously what is under the hood of that car) but he was on four fresh tires and Tony just didn’t have enough to hold him off although he did give it a great effort and was able to maintain a second place finish in the 10 lap shoot out caused by the late race caution. It was Stewart-Haas Racing’s first top five finish of the season.  It moved Tony up to fifth in the points standings 89 points behind points leader Kevin Harvick.  Teammate Ryan Newman finished 16th in the race at Bristol which increase his points standings three positions to 26th. He is 322 points behind points leader Kevin Harvick.  Overall I would over say it was a pretty good day for Stewart Haas racing with both cars moving up in the points.

Notes about Bristol:

  • Did we really think that the Keselowski/Edwards fued would continue at Bristol? Edwards is under probation and did a talking too by sponsor SCOTT. I am not saying it is necessarily over- but it is for now.
  • Did you catch the new Joey Logano version of the coco-cola singing commercial? Instead of it starting off with Tony singing it starts with Joey singing. Sorry I like the Tony one better.
  • Speaking of Tony, Darrell Waltrip said during the prerace (I think it was during the Gas N Go segment) that Stewart-Haas Racing had lost it’s “sparkle” this season because the newness wore off. Um…I think Tony and crew are looking pretty “sparkly” now.
  • I think it would be fun to be a fly on the wall for the Stewart-Haas “competition” meetings. I think it would provide an interesting insight into racing and my favorite team and the kind of work that goes on behind the scenes.  This from the woman who hates going to meeting for her job.

Next Week: My favorite track! Martinsville

It’s been awhile since I talked NASCAR commercials.  This year has given us a fair share of new ones to consider…and I am prompted to post this entry that has been rolling around in the cargo area that is my brain for about a month now by an email from NASCAR.COM announcing that the winner of their Daytona Commercial Showcase was the David Ragan UPS Three-Wheelin’ Ad (Seriously?? That one?? Did my votes not count because that commercial did nothing for me).

Since I don’t agree with the winner, I am going to tell you Amy’s favorites of the newest round of NASCAR commercials:

1. The Coca-Cola Drivers Commercial. First off you HAVE to give these guys props.  They are race car drivers NOT singers- but there they are putting it all out there.  I have seen the behind the scenes video and it shows that our favorite coke drivers are singing it themselves.  I can’t imagine doing that and then having it broadcast on TV. I LOVE to sing, especially in the car (because I am alone and who can complain except except on the rare occasion I have the sunroof open).  I also like that the commercial incorporates some of the crew chiefs like Darian Grubb and Greg Zipadelli. By far a favorite. (By the way you can hear your favorite coke family driver sing the whole commercial alone if you want just go to MyCokeRewards.com/Nascar and scroll your cursor over the driver you want to hear.  I say Tony and Elliott Sadler are the best).

2. Second  place is a tie but it goes to the same company- Toyota. I can’t decide which I like better Denny Hamlin asking, “Who doesn’t love love?” Or Kyle Busch driving the car with kitties, bunnies and little baby seals. That is some funny stuff…especially the look on Kyle’s face as he is driving, with his head in that kitty cat helmet…Oh I chuckle just thinking about it.

3. My third favorite is the UPS Delivery commercial- I don’t know why but the fact that Santa gets all aggro and tries to climb the fence while Mercury and some of the other delivery guys try to keep him from going over cracks me up.

Now for my least favorite commercials:

Hands down my least favorite is the Martin Truex Jr. Napa commercial.  Mainly the part that bugs me the most are the two Napa guys at the end.

But the Sprint Jimmie Johnson commercial bugs me too…for two reasons. Reason 1: why is Jimmie playing golf in a bathrobe but he’s got full on pjs on underneath the bathrobe? Who does that unless they are in the artic? Reason 2: Wouldn’t everyone they call be “the real Jimmie Johnson” and not just Jimmie Johnson the race car driver? Just sayin’.