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Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers

Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers during the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Raceway (Photo Credit: The Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page/Tommy Grassmann/CIA Stock Photo Copyright, CIA Stock Photography, Inc.)

I had no idea how this race would play out. The qualifying on it’s own wasn’t the best considering that the #14 team’s performance over the last several weeks showed marked improvement. At Michigan however Tony qualified the #14 Bass Pro Chevrolet 26th. It was a bit disappointing considering that the 14 team’s performance over the last several weeks showed marked improvement. But then on the first practice on Saturday morning Tony finished 6th on the speed charts. And then later during last practice- they finished 31st on the speed charts. Down and up and back down again. And while I honestly don’t usually pay too much attention to practice speeds this yo-yo of performance left me wondering what the heck the race would be like.

During the first lap of the race there was a caution, then the race went green again and again there was a caution. By this time Tony had already moved up into the top 20 but I thought it was possibly due to attrition because of the cautions. Then the race went green for awhile and Tony was able to steadily march forward into the top 15, then the top 10. Yeah this definitely wasn’t attrition at work- Tony had himself a competitive car that he could pass with.  Another good sign was that while listening to his radio he didn’t say too much about the car’s handling. At one time during an early pit stop he did ask for a little more air pressure with one of the rear tires but that was really all he said for a majority of the race. (more…)

Tony Stewart and his Dad

Tony Stewart and his Dad, Michigan 2013 (Photo Credit: TonyStewart.Com Media Gallery)

“Probably the first 10 years of my life in racing, we raced together with our go-karts. I would say probably our greatest memory is the first Grand Nationals that we went to in Iowa together. We won out there, and I think it was about four o’clock in the morning when we finally finished. I was 12 years old, so it was way past my bedtime, but it was the first time I had seen that much excitement in my father’s face. I guess he realized more at the time what we had accomplished than what I realized had happened.” Tony Stewart, Pre-Michigan Team Release

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous TQMS posts.

#GoTonyGo #StandWithSmoke

Tony’s not panicking yet:

Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart during pre-race ceremonies at the Party In The Pococos Race 2013 (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

“Especially with the new rules package this year, I don’t think anybody is in panic mode. We’re still learning these cars and going to tracks for the first time in the season. Six or eight weeks before Richmond, then you start panicking if you don’t have that win. I think it’s still too early to panic, at least for us.” Tony Stewart, Pocono Pre-race Team Release 2014

Side note…this is the first paragraph of the team release for Pocono that I pulled my quote from:

Brussels sprouts rarely make an appearance on anyone’s list of favorite foods. And why would they? They’re a leafy, green vegetable that, depending on how they’re prepared, can have a questionable texture and bitter taste. Yet, they’re packed with nutrients, including anticancer properties, earning them “it’s good for you” status from generations of moms.– Tony Stewart Pocono 400 pre-race team release

I don’t know what it says about me- but I like Brussels sprouts (and no I am not a mom).

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous TQMS posts.

#GoTonyGo #StandWithSmoke

The 14 Crew services the #14 Code 3 Associates Chevy

The 14 Crew services the #14 Code 3 Associates Chevy. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

First off I like seeing that the NASCAR race at Dover fully embraces the name of the race: The Autism Speaks 400. It’s not just a race sponsor- many drivers ran special Autism awareness puzzle piece decals on their cars for the race, and Denny Hamlin even ran a special FEDEX Autism awareness paint scheme! I love to see that, but what I loved seeing the most? They had special suite seating for families with autistic children, complete with special toys and a place to get away from the overstimulation that a race track can bring. LOVE THIS! This was the best picture I could find of Denny’s special paint scheme- it’s hard to tell from this picture but the entirely of the blue on the car is comprised of puzzle pieces with names on them- very cool: (more…)

The 14 Car on Pit Road

Tony Stewart’s #14 Bass Pro/Mobil 1 Chevy sits in the pits at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: The Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page/ Andrew Coppley/CIA Stock Photo Copyright, CIA Stock Photography, Inc)

Over my life, my racing fandom has wavered between NASCAR, IRL and even NHRA for awhile before I settled back on NASCAR in the late 90s. I know I have mentioned this here before (usually right around this time of year) but I started off as a mostly IRL fan  (technically it was before the inception of what is now called IRL- back then it was called CART and if anyone mentions that I am showing my age- I will sock you in the eye) likely because that was the premier racing series that the track closest to my home ran at the that time.  I remember watching many an Indy500 “bubble day” with bated breath wondering who was going to make the field and who was going to go home sad. I knew the words to “Back Home Again In Indiana” before my own state song. I have no trouble sitting down and watching an IRL race, and did so with even more glee than usual on Sunday – all because Kurt Busch was running the double. As I listened to the Indy500 pre race show as I flitted about the house before settling into watch some racing, I said after the pre-race interview with Kurt “If he doesn’t crash the Indy car I have no doubt he will do it.” Little did I know what exactly he would do that could in the Indy500 side of the double.  I mean- technically it was his first time in a IRL race. And racing is different than testing, and qualifying and all that.  When Kurt tied Tony’s best Indy double finish…I was IMPRESSED!  I was so disappointed for him when he suffered an engine failure in Charlotte.  I HOPE that doesn’t dissuade him from attempting this again! I love the double and would actually LOVE to see more drivers attempt it- it adds something to the Indy 500 to me as well as the Coca-Cola 600.

The pit crew of the #14 Bass Pro/Mobil 1 Chevy services the car. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart FaceBook page)

That said- let’s talk Coca-Cola 600.  It’s the longest race of the NASCAR season- I know that there has been talk that it’s too long- but I think there needs to be at least one 600 mile race in the season.  In a time when the trend is to want to shorten races in general- I think it’s important to have a long race to showcase the endurance of the drivers, team and equipment.  I think of it as the endurance race of NASCAR. (more…)

Instead of the usual Friday TQMS* post that I usually do- I thought I would share this picture that Tony tweeted not long after he joined Twitter because for some reason I find PorkChop to be ridiculously adorable:

“Porkchop and I are wore out after watching the truck race”- Tony Stewart’s 2nd official tweet (Click picture to be taken to the original tweet).

Awwww….I can’t be the only one.  Cute lil piggie. Actually not so little- Porkchop appears to be about the size of my beagle.  Hey Tony how about a play date? (Kidding- although Gracie loves to play with other dogs- I think PorkChop  might scare her and then she would scare him with her crazy shrill baying and he’d likely head for the hills – or wherever lil piggies hide). (more…)

Qualifying Pit Stop

Qualifying Pit Stop for the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store, Copyright, CIA Stock Photography, Inc.)

So I have to admit- I was not as enthralled with the All-Star Race this year as I have been in years past.  Why? I can’t be 100 percent sure why-but likely it’s a combination of things.  I think a big part of it has to do with the fact that they never seem to stick to a format (would it kill them to reverse the field again maybe in the second to last segment- that year was fun).  Plus I REALLY miss the Pit Crew Challenge. ALOT.  That was always my FAVORITE event of the All-Star Week celebrations- the pit crews getting to show their stuff and shine in the light for awhile….NASCAR is a team sport and unfortunately they can be a little overlooked sometimes I think. .  Plus I readily admit that a teeny tiny part of me is jealous and would LOVE to be in the Charlotte area touring race shops and such instead of working. One of these years it will happen… (more…)

Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart lead the field

Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart lead the field to another restart at Kansas (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

Sigh. That is really all I have after the night race in Kansas is a long forlorn sigh.  What does team 14 have to do to catch a freaking break this season. The weekend started with a really STRONG qualifying showing from Stewart-Haas Racing. All four cars qualified in the top 10 (Kevin had the pole, Kurt qualified 6th, Tony qualified 8th, and Danica 9th).  I am not sure- but I think that might be a first right there, but regardless it was a strong qualifying showing and even had the pre-race show talking heads yabbering about how Stewart-Haas was doing so well (which cracked me up because all we have been hearing previously from them was about how something is missing at SHR) and was the team to beat. Make up your mind guys…seriously. (more…)