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Tony Stewart and his steed in the garage

Tony Stewart and his steed in the garage at Atlanta MotorSpeedway, 2015. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/HHP photo/Alan Marler)

Tony Qualified: didn’t, was placed 39th in the starting order, actually started 43rd

Tony Finished: 30th

Points: 16 points, 35th in the standings.

Let’s start with qualifying- or lack there of.  I might have believed NASCAR’s stance that the issue with qualifying was all on the teams- if only a couple of teams failed to make qualifying.   When 30% of the field lacks to even make it to qualifying because they are stuck in technical inspection- then something about the whole process is wrong. When four of those teams are top echelon teams like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart- then obviously something is majorly wrong- this race is not these teams first rodeo- their crew chief’s know what they are doing. I was completely livid when I found out what happened during qualifying that if you follow my twitter account you likely got bombarded by my tweets regarding the ridiculousness that was this issue. I have been thinking about the issue most of the weekend and my thought is that there is a solution:  Make the teams clear technical inspection BEFORE qualifying ever begins.  Once a call passes technical inspection they are rolled out onto the grid and are to not move or be altered until qualifying begins. So that’s my idea. But it is ridiculous when 30 percent of your running field can’t even make it to qualifying because they are stuck in tech.

Now onto the race.  Because Tony apparently missed driver introductions (how does one miss driver introductions- I am not sure. I heard he was also late to the driver’s meeting) he ended up having to drop from his 39th place starting position down to 43rd. Well, I thought to myself, it wouldn’t be the first time I have seen him come back from the very back before to win the whole thing- but unfortunately it was not meant to be.  Tony struggled with the handling and crew chief Chad “Pedro” Johnston just could not seem to adjust the machine to make it better.

Tony on track

Tony Stewart pilots the 14 Bass Pro Chevy on track during practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store/HHP/Garry Eller)

Tony did, at one point, struggle up all the way to 18th place but that would be the highest position he would attain and he wouldn’t keep it that long. On lap 306 Tony was caught up in a multi-car accident that sent cars all over the track. Tony said on the radio was that he was doing ok avoiding the accident until someone behind him failed to check up and pushed into him- he sustained front end damage.  “Pedro” and crew went right to work as soon as Tony could bring the car to them- working through out the pitstop to bring the car in, work on it and send it back out again to try to not lose too much position. They got Tony back on the track but he was smoking and had to bring it in because NASCAR was threatening to black flag him if they didn’t come in and fixed it- he was able to make it back out and across the finish line but finished 30th, 6 laps down.

Boom but no confetti

Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fifth Third Bank Ford, and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, have an incident in turn three during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (February 28, 2015 – Source: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images North America)

There are three positives I can take from the race: Tony didn’t have a dreaded DNF. Tony finished not only better from where he started but better from where he was placed in the starting grid. And the crew didn’t suffer any pit road penalties that I could find out.

Race winner was Jimmie Johnson.

Notes about the race:

1. If you didn’t know- Tony has declared his crew chief’s nickname to be Pedro.  “Pedro” has joined the twitterverse: @johnston_pedro

2. I didn’t think it was too funny of Jimmie Johnson to mention that if they need someone to find where the walls are without SAFER Barrier are that he just needs to send out Jeff Gordon. While yes I know it was said in jest- but I am sure Jeff nor his back needed that big impact. SAFER BARRIER EVERYWHERE NASCAR – seriously.

Quote Of The Race: “What Pedro wants, Pedro gets.” — Tony Stewart on the radio discussing pit strategy with his crew chief Chad “Pedro” Johnston

The Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Tony Stewart has a chuckle.

March 1, 2015: Tony Stewart during the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton Ga. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store/HHP/Harold Hinson)

 

 

Next Week’s Race: Fabulous Las Vegas- I will see you there!

_____

#SmokeAlwaysRises

#SmokeAlwaysRises

Tony Stewart during the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, January 27th, 2015, (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page/Harold Hinson Photography)

As I sit here watching the Superbowl, I really have only one thing on my mind. NASCAR. I really can’t help myself- it’s how I am wired. Sports with balls are really just in my periphery, it’s sports with wheels that catch my attention and of those NASCAR that really catches my attention and my heart.

I will be the first to admit that at the end of last season I was ready for it. Can you blame me? It’s been a shitty two years for my driver on every level, some we can likely barely even comprehend.  Of course that didn’t stop me from getting a tattoo supporting my driver during champions week in Las Vegas. But still- I was ready for it to be done.  And I honestly didn’t even miss it that much (obviously by my lack of posts here during the off-season lamenting about how long the off season seems).

I am not happy about the last two years of my life by any means. It’s given me more drive and desire to get back to the old form that our fans and our sponsors and everybody are use to seeing us in. So I am looking forward to it. This is probably the most prepared I’ve been in awhile for a season to start. — Tony Stewart, CMS Media Tour, 1-27-15

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(Photo Credit: Edelman)

Hi Santa! It’s me, Amy, your friendly neighborhood diehard Tony Stewart fan. It’s been a long time since I have written you a letter. A really, really long time, but we won’t talk about that! You already know if I have been naughty or nice so I won’t sit here and try to bargain with you regarding that fact. Nor will I wax poetically about whether or not you you exist- clearly you do based on the sole number of presents my three nephews had under their tree last year.  I thought it couldn’t hurt things if I actually sent you my wish list this year.

Anyway Santa, here is a list of  what this Smoke fan wants for Christmas this year. Just to warn you Santa- some of these things are a bit in the future from Christmas- but if it happens I will just know that I was extra-specially good this year: (more…)

I have lots to write still to wrap up the season- but I wanted to congratulate the winner of the Ford EcoBoost 400 AND the winner of the 2014 Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing #4 Budweiser Chevy:

Winner winner chicken dinner! Winner of both the Ford EcoBoost 400 and the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship Kevin Harvick hoists the trophy for the cup championship in victory lane in Homestead, Fl on November 16th 2014. (photo credit: 303081Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Harvicks in Victory Lane

The Harvick family celebrate the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship in victory lane at Homestead, FL on November 16th, 2014. (Photo Credit: 303098Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

And my FAVORITE picture of the night- Driver, Owner, Friends, Champions.

The Driver. The Owner. The Friends.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

Thanks Kevin Harvick- Stewart-Haas Racing and Tony needed that!!  So did the fans.

If you look up the word champion up on dictionary.com this is what the definition is:

dictionary.com definition of champion.

Do you see that very first definition there? A person who has defeated all opponents in a competition or series of competitions, so as to hold first place.  It’s makes sense right? After all if you look at probably the two most popular stick-and/or-ball sports in the United States that is what they use as a Champion.  What Super Bowl team does not have the BEST record for their division going into the big game. Same for the World Series- it’s a series of games between the two teams with the best records in their respective divisions. It’s what NASCAR use to have. (more…)

Tony pilots his Chevy through the garage

Tony pilots his Chevy through the garage at Texas Motor Speedway, November 2014. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store FB/Mike Calamungi/CIA Stock Photo)

I wanted to let the race soak in a bit this week before writing my post (okay who am I kidding- really I was totally slammed at the day job yesterday and not in the mood to write by the time I got home).

Let’s start with my usual fodder- Team 14 and their run at TMS.  I admit I started the weekend a bit excited after hearing that Tony was the first driver to break the 200 mph mark in a stock car at Texas Motor Speedway.  Of course it’s all relative considering Tony has gone around TMS in an indy car at well over 200 mph. Still it’s cool and like Tony mentioned who knows how long the record lasts- but it’s always cool to be the first one to do something!  Tony was able to qualify for the race 6th which is not bad at all! (more…)

Tony on Sunday at Martinsville

Tony Stewart pilots the #14 Bass Pro Chevy on Sunday at Martinsville (photo credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/Mike Calamungi CIA Stock)

I have been saying for years- Martinsville is my favorite track I have never been to. I LOVE to watch races at the crazy little paper-clip shaped track.  The speeds maybe slower than a mile-and-a-half track BUT the racing action is much better. (Another reason I like Phoenix so much too- the racing action is awesome there). (more…)

Tony Stewart gets serviced on pit road

Tony Stewart’s #14 Bass Pro Chevrolet gets serviced on pit road on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

So much for flag-to-flag coverage of the chase races huh?  For all that NASCAR has done building up this new Chase format- building it to be more like traditional playoffs like you see in other series, did they ever have an epic televised coverage fail on Saturday. Did you tune in on Saturday expecting to see the 5th race of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint cup? So did I. Were you disappointed to see college football instead? ME TOO! (more…)