Header image

Wow, what a weekend for Stewart-Haas Racing.   I admit I was quite pleased when Ryan and Tony qualified 1-2 (although that little teeny competitive person inside me was chagrined that it wasn’t the other way around).  Tony isn’t always the best qualifier- so when he qualifies top 10 I get pretty happy. When he qualifies top 5 I get damn happy. When he qualifies top 2? I do a jig. Ok not really- but I was ecstatic and hopeful for his run on Sunday.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, poses with his team and Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, and his team on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America)

It appears I had every reason to be hopeful.  EVERY REASON.  I settled in for the race with my cell phone and my note pad close.  I started off on the TNT national broadcast- only for the pre-race. Once the command was given to start engines I switched it over to Stewart’s DirecTV HotPass channel where for the second week in a row I just stayed on the HotPass Channel.  I have decided that I like the HotPass because I get the radio communications between Tony, Darian and Bob without draining my battery on my phone and having to relaunch the Sprint ap every time I go to read a text or a tweet- which during the race is quite often.

Anyway- it was quite obvious by the way Tony Stewart moved through the field that he had a car to be reckoned with.  Especially if you consider that during the pre-race show all the drivers interviewed mentioned how hard it would be to pass at Louden.  I don’t remember anyone saying anything different.  Tony seemed to be able to work his way up through the field a couple times and made it look easy.  EASY!  Whoo.

Ryan Newman (R), driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, is congratulated by team owner and second place finisher, Tony Stewart (L), driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

I will readily admit that the competitive side of me came out when Tony was running hard trying to catch Ryan.  I was standing there in front of the TV-hoping Ryan would run out of gas. I know, I should hang my head in shame a little for hoping Ryan would run out of gas, after all that is Tony’s  teammate.  All I can say is that, Tony is my driver and he could be racing my mom out there and I would still be rooting for Tony. It’s just how this fan/driver relationship works.

Tony’s second place finish has moved him into a tie for 10th place with Denny Hamlin.  I can only hope that this 1-2 weekend at New Hampshire signals the start of better luck for Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing.

Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, is congratulated by teammate Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, after Newman won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

Notes on Loudon:

  1. You see that picture up there of Tony congratulating Ryan in the car. The one right above this notes section? You might have to look carefully because it’s small but Tony’s hand is out congratulating Ryan.  I LOVE that picture.  Why? Well, as I mentioned I was watching the race on Tony’s HotPass channel and seeing him celebrate Ryan’s win and his second place from his incar camera was GREAT!  He was UBER excited!!!  Then hearing that one of the first things Tony said when he got out of his car was that he was “so damn proud” that he “couldn’t see straight” made me laugh.
  2. I love listening in on the radio communication. How else would I have known that Tony was mad because the hose that cools his feet wasn’t hooked up and I found that out because he stated over his radio that he in charge of hooking up said hose could drive the car the next time the hose didn’t get hooked up.  So Tony wasn’t hot-headed he was hot-footed.  Ha! I crack myself up.  Not to mention the kind words he had to say about Andy Lally.  LOVE it because that is what is going on right then and there in the car in my driver’s head.
  3. Oh and I am hearing that there is a rumor out there that Carl Edwards may be signing with JGR for next season…I am not sure if JGR is going to a 4 car team or if that means someone is out of one of the JGR cars.  I guess we will find out soon enough.
  4. I still have to say that I would be happier if Ryan and Tony’s finishes were reversed, but still pretty damn happy.
  5. But we really need a win now. Just saying.
  6. Oh and before I forget- Tony mentioned during his post-race press conference that Darian was dealing with pneumonia while on the pit box…I sure hope he’s feeling better soon!

Gratuitous Tony picture:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15, 2011 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Don’t forget next weekend is an off weekend for the Cup cars…they will be back the following weekend at Indy. Go Tony Go!

(Instead of giving you my usual spin on what happened during Tony’s race at Michigan (you can read the official race report here for information on Tony’s run) I think I am going to break things up a little bit and wax on about how this season is really starting to concern me as far as Stewart-Haas Racing and Tony Stewart in particular is concerned.)

I am starting to enter panic-mode when it comes to Tony Stewart making the  chase.  This slump or whatever you want to call this string of bad (winless) luck that Tony Stewart and SHR seems to be having is giving me total and complete fits.  Tony is now 11th in points with no wins. I am in fits because of this new chase format where only the top 10 in points are guaranteed chase spots, with the last to spots going to the wildcards with the most wins.  And us having NO WINS? That right there makes Amy a panic-stricken Tony Stewart fan.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not going to abandon ship or hop a bandwagon mind you.  I am a Tony Stewart fan through good and BAD.  And while I tend to be an optimistic sort of fan (oh it’s early…oh at least he finished in the top five, ten, fifteen…oh at least he finished better than he qualified…there are still x races before the chase- he’ll pull himself up by his bootstraps and get some wins) I am having an increasingly difficult time talking myself off the “OH NO TONY’S NOT GOING TO MAKE THE CHASE” ledge that I find myself sitting on more and more often recently. It is definitely not a fun place to sit, let me tell you.

You can try telling me Stewart always heats up with a winning streak in the summer- I have tried telling myself that too. Honestly? That fact doesn’t sooth my panic addled brain right now. Misty is always telling me “You can’t keep a Tony Stewart down!” And while the Tony Stewart fan in me is proud she thinks that…my brain still quietly says “Well remember that one year he didn’t make the chase?” Yeah…thanks for that reminder brain- like I needed that.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 17, 2011 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (June 16, 2011 - Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images North America)

I have to blame it on something and really the only thing I can blame it on is the new points system.  Bad days in this new points system are more devastating to the overall points pictures and harder to rebound from in this points system than the old system.  And while I was all for changing the points system in the chase last season, I still thought that the regular season points should remain the same.

Now I am definitely no mathematician that is for certain.  I don’t understand how people can say that this new points system emphasizes wins.  I don’t see that really thought because if it emphasized wins wouldn’t Kevin Harvick be the current series leader? Wouldn’t someone like Jeff Gordon who has two wins be above Tony in the points then? I don’t like this new system of points- if only because it doesn’t reward consistency enough but punishes for lack of it far too harshly.  As I mentioned I am not good with numbers and math- so I can’t really come up with an alternate solution to the points.  My only thought was to make it more like golf- and make the object the lowest score possible.  But I am not sure if that would make that much of a difference overall when compared to this new system. I don’t have an answer and that too frustrates the daylights out of me.

So yeah- lately Tony’s points situation has been stressing me out- well that and the  horrifying thought that Tony might not make the chase this year.  And yes I know that Tony says they focus on wins and the points take care of themselves. But ACK the win column is a bit empty right now.  And as Misty states- what would Champions Week in Vegas be without crowding around Tony to watch The Stewies?

(Editor’s Note- A huge thank you goes out to Kevin- who wrote this post about his experience at the F1 seat swap sponsored by Mobil 1 at Watkin’s Glen yesterday.  He was kind enough to write this post as well as provide us with his personal pictures and videos of the event. Thanks Kevin- AMY).

I have been waiting for today for half the year. The chance to see my favorite driver run another type of race car, an F1 car. Yes, today was the day that Tony Stewart got to drive Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 F1 Championship winning car at Watkins Glen International. (more…)

At a previous race during this season someone asked Tony Stewart to describe his car and his chances for that particular race. I have no memory of what race it was or who even asked him the question. I honestly don’t even remember if it was something I saw on print or on TV. Anyway, he described his car and his chances for that particular race with the phrase “cautiously optimistic.” Most everyone knows that Tony Stewart is the king of snappy, derisive one line comebacks (and this is one of the reasons he’s my driver) so why this particular, non-Stewartesque quote stuck with me all this time I haven’t a clue. It was obviously something my brain felt the need to file in it’s bulging back pocket. (more…)

I became familiar with EFX Perfomance probably about a year ago when I noticed Tony Stewart had been wearing a necklace and I could tell it had letters on it but from the pictures I had seen- I couldn’t tell WHAT it said.  I asked a fellow blogger (who was interviewing about to interview him) to see if she could find out what it said/what it was- and she kindly did.  So I am NOT surprised that I saw the press release last week come across my desk stating that EFX  Perfomance had developed a partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports to bring driver specific bracelets available for purchase.  (more…)

I wanted to share some pictures of Tony during his visit at the US Marine base in Quantico, VA yesterday:

Speed shopping! The Office Depot Racing merchandise hauler was at U.S. Marine Corps Base Quantico on Thursday when NASCAR star Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy, made a special visit during Quantico’s third-annual ServMart Customer Appreciation Day. Office Depot, a primary sponsor of Stewart, operates a ServMart on the base. Stewart met with Wounded Warriors and signed hundreds of autographs for service members during his visit (Photo Credit: Action Sports Photography)

A service member at U.S. Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia gets an up-close look at Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot show car (Photo Credit: Action Sports Photography).

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy, signs autographs while visiting Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. Stewart stopped by the Office Depot ServMart on base, met with Wounded Warriors and signed hundreds of autographs during his visit (Photo Credit: Action Sports Photography)

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy, talks with service members at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia (Photo Credit: Action Sports Photography).

I also found a awesome story from a local paper about the visit- you should definitely check out NASCAR Champion Driven To Honor Pair Of Warriors.

Restrictor plate racing brings with it it’s own set of rules and lately it’s own style of racing. The two-by-two “pod” style of racing that we saw at Daytona in February was indeed back again at Talladega. It was no surprise that during the extended first practice when it featured many pod runs (two cars bump drafting all the way around the track).

The two car tango that we have been seeing at the plate tracks brings with it two “issues” that seem to be on everyone’s mind. Of course you know I am going to throw my opinion in the ring. (more…)

So the first night race at Texas Motor Speedway- or should we call it the Stewart Yo-Yo race?  Part of me says that the Stewart fan in me shouldn’t be disappointed with the race- after all the results weren’t THAT bad- hell we even picked up a position in the points…but I just can’t talk myself out of the disappointment over Texas.  Tony seemed to be fairly good in practice. This encouraged me.  Yet then he qualified 26th. Not so good- but then again- Tony’s not the best qualifier.  Little did I know that the swing between practice and qualifying would be indicative of the entire race on Saturday.  The most encouraging thing about the race is that they did seem to have the car fairly well set up in that Tony seemed to be able to move through the field with it, seeing as he seemed to have to do it over and over again between the early race pit road incident that caused some damage and the pit road speeding penalty.  Between racing it through the field and pit strategy the team ALMOST had it working their way up to a very respectable 3rd place- until the car ran out of gas on the white flag lap of the race.  It was sad to watch Stewart tumble down the ticker at the top of the screen as the cars were crossing the finish line- 3rd turned to 5th, to 8th, etc.  Tony ended up finishing 12th; however he actually rose one spot to 10th in the championship standings.

Congratulations to race winner Matt Kenseth.

Notes:

  • NASCAR on FOX got on my bad side during the post-race- Chris Meyer’s stated they would speak with Tony Stewart and then they NEVER did. URG.
  • I don’t know what is going on with Tony’s team- but I can only hope that they are getting this bad stretch out of their system early so we can totally ROCK the rest of the season.  Not only is it: #goTonyGo but it’s #goTeam14go!
  • So I felt a little bad for Carl Edwards- driving while not feeling so hot during the race.  That can’t be fun.  But then he threw his mom “under the bus” by blaming her cooking for it on national TV.  That made me wince.  I am sure he didn’t think about it before he said it- but wow…I think you probably owe your mom a HUGE mother’s day present now Carl.
  • What was with everyone playing bumper cars in the pits during the race? That was crazy.
  • Why is there no SAFER barrier on the inside wall where Mark Martin hit?  Texas should consider installing some.

Unfortunately it’s not like we can even relax next weekend- for it’s the race I watch every year through my fingers! It’s DEGA baby.