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(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.

So part of the reason I have lacked in posting here lately is that I have too many things swirling around my pea brain that I want to write about- but none of them will flush out into an appropriate full-sized posting. That being said, I have decided to give up trying to make nice single subject posts and give you a NASCAR brain dump, bullets style in hopes that new ideas will stand on their own two feet.  So without further ado…my NASCAR Brain Dump:

  • Tony Stewart fans you have less than a week to enter this month’s 14 for 14 Office Depot Racing contest. This month the prize is a race used lugnut and an autographed picture (to 14 lucky fans).  After you enter the contest be sure to poke around a bit and download a wall paper or Ask Tony a question.
  • Also, while I am on the subject of Tony, don’t forget to buy your raffle ticket (only $25.oo) for the 2011 Convertible Camaro that Tony is giving away- proceeds to benefit The Tony Stewart Foundation. Go to SmokesChevy.com for more information now.
  • There is a great article in the new edition of Sports Life Magazine (the magazine has Danica Patrick on the cover) called the 21 Coolest Things About NASCAR (here’s a link to the article on the author’s blog). Its an interesting article and it has a quote from yours truly (Amy) in it.  Brownie points if you read the article and come back and tell me what you think is the coolest thing about NASCAR…or just tell me you like my quote!
  • Have you noticed that they are making a big deal out of how they are going to nickname Kevin Harvick The Closer instead of Happy?  Just because he won two races in a row? I would be surprised if Junior Nation didn’t want to call him Hated Harvick – only because he took the lead from Junior at Martinsville in the last laps of the race- not because I think he should be hated.  I am still trying to find out why Tony’s Spotter Bob calls Kevin Harvick “Cupcake”. There is a story there I am sure…but then again we might not want to know.  Maybe Kevin Harvick is the driver with the most nicknames…maybe that should be his nickname. Ok now I am just getting silly.
  • The points watcher in me is starting to panic. Tony’s dropping and it’s disheartening to watch.  Not as disheartening as watching him lose at LAS VEGAS…that was sad. But this is worrisome. Junior and Jeff Gordon are going up steadily in the points and Tony’s dropping. ACK. I will try not to obsess about it too much.
  • When you are attending a race, do you let race traffic influence how good or bad of a time you had a said race? I am just wondering this because apparently traffic at Texas is expected to be an issue judging by the tweets I am reading.  I mean- I don’t know how anyone can go to a large sporting event such as a race and NOT expect traffic.  Figure a race has 100,000 attendees.  Average 3 people per car – that’s still 33, 333 cars.  All trying to enter or exit a track facility at the same time.  Personal experience wise- it’s taken me anywhere from 5 minutes (the parking gods were good that day) to 2+ hours to get out of a track and on the road.  I think it was Las Vegas the first time…I sat in the same spot in a parking lot trying to get out for this long: I had time to watch the fellows parked in the aisle I was driving down arrive at their vehicle, watch them set up their grill and table, grill some steaks, drink some beverages, and then sit down at a little camp table and eat their steaks. I didn’t let that influence how I felt about the race though.
  • One of my favorite parts of pre-race is watching the teams do their individual prayer huddles:

Photo Credit: Borrowed from TonyStewart.com….shamelessly
  •  Assignment for you: Tell me WHY you love your favorite driver….whomever that may be. What made you a fan? What keeps you a fan?