I know I have talked a whole lot about the “Honoring Our Heroes” paint scheme that Tony Stewart ran in Richmond. I talked about it the minute I found out about the paint scheme. I posted pictures of the paint scheme on the diecast. I posted about it right before the Richmond race. I posted about it after the Richmond race. So why am I posting about it yet again, when the race is done and over and we have moved on?
Okay- seriously it was all I could do not to use WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER as the title of this post. Now that it’s out of my system (kind of) I can move on with the post.
Monday morning, while I was getting ready for work, I nearly forgot to put on my pink checker flag socks. I wear them every race day. I was up earlier than normal after a fairly crappy night of (lack of) sleep and more worried about getting my car to its service appointment by 7:30 and wasn’t thinking about it being race day. Thus, I nearly forgot to wear my socks. Fear not- I remembered at the last minute that I was about to put on the wrong socks and grabbed the right pair. Then as I was slipping them on I thought to myself- I should snap a picture of my checker flag socks and post them on my blog…but then common sense took over and I decided no one would want to see my socks. So consider yourself lucky that you aren’t looking at a pink sock emblazoned with checkered flags encasing my foot right now. You are welcome.
Settling in to watch the race at Richmond, the 26th race of the 2011 season, I was a ball of nerves. It was one of those races that I would have fast forwarded through just to see the results without going the stress (and I mean STRESS) of the race. Tony was one of the drivers on the chase bubble. So to remain in the chase Tony had to finish in the top 18 because if he fell out of the top 10 in points he would NOT be eligible for a wildcard position because he has no wins (YET). He qualified 22nd. See what I mean- I am sure Tony Stewart is trying to kill me- or give me an ulcer anyway.
I was encouraged by his little beginning of the race radio pep talk that he ended with: WE CAN DO THIS! I settled in and thought…of course WE CAN DO THIS!
It seemed at the beginning of the race that every two or three laps there was a caution because of agressive driving causing someone to spin someone out. I believe I proclaimed a couple of times that at this race the race wouldn’t be over until midnight west coast time (I told you I might have been tempted to fast forward during this race to see what the outcome was). All my readers know that I was crossing every appendage I physically could in hopes of Tony making the chase. Apparently turning myself into a pretzel worked (yeah sure that’s what did it…I am sure of it).
I started to relax during the end of the race, when I was pretty sure that, barring some catastrophic accident (although I still worried about it slightly) and was able to actually enjoy the racing- but for 90 percent of it I was on pins and needles. PINS AND NEEDLES people. Were you? Tony seemed to be able to work his way forward through the field sometimes but other times he seemed stucked where he was. But in the end- he ended up finishing 7th- well above the 18th place finish he would have needed to clinch his place in the chase.
Tony’s “Honoring Our Heroes” symbolic memorial paint scheme was BEAUTIFUL on the track. It looked like he had an equally amazing helmet. This is the best picture I could find of it- if you have a better one- please share:
Tony’s car was one of four cars in the field in the Saturday night race who raced a special commemorative paint scheme honoring the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation- a foundation that supports the families of first responders, provides scholarships for their children, as well as supports veteran’s wounded in conflict. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the diecasts of Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, David Gilliland and Jamie MacMurray cars will go to the foundation. Lionel NASCAR Collectibles presented the Stephen Siller Foundation with $125,000 as the first installment of the proceeds of the money raised from the sale of diecasts.
Notes About Richmond:
- I was so glad that Dale Junior also made it into chase.
- The race coverage by ABC – on what to most NASCAR fans considered a crucial race- wasn’t very good. It seemed to me like there were far too many commercial breaks and a lot of times, when returning from a caution we missed the initial drop of the green flag- to find the cars already taking the first turn of the race.
- The race at Richmond had a record tying number of cautions: 15
- There were just as many sparks off the tracks as on. Tony got snippy with AP reporter Jenna Fryer at his media availablity between practices on Friday. After the race Kurt Busch is reported to had to have been physically restrained in an argument with Joe Menzer (NASCAR.COM), then later exchanged further heated words in the media center with him and even later with Jenna Fryer, when it’s reported that
he ripped a transcript from her handthen ripped it in half. So you think that there were no emotions running high at that race (and after?). (Ok so I found the video of Kurt tearing the transcript…it appears to me that Jenna just handed it to him- he didn’t “rip it from her hands”- he did tear it in half though.)
- Tony helped the Office Depot Foundation donate 2000 sackpacks filled with school supplies to local Virginia children:
And finally- I just have to point out a favorite quote from the official team post-race report:
“It’s going to be a long 10 weeks, but every Friday when we show up at the track we start with a clean slate and just do the best we can. So, we’ll keep digging.” – Tony Stewart (emphasis mine)
That’s right: #KeepDiggingTony!
Next Race: Chicagoland
Tony Stewart will be running a special, one-time “Honoring Our 9-11 Heroes” paint scheme this weekend at Richmond. I have been talking about this paint scheme since I found out about it. I even posted pictures of the diecast (and I ordered the diecast too). I know I have mentioned this before but a portion of the proceeds for the sale of the LIONEL NASCAR collectable diecast goes to the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Tower foundation- you can order your diecast here or at the NASCAR.COM Superstore. The car has a gorgeous, patriotic red, white and blue paint scheme and the commemoration behind the paint scheme is what makes it extra special:
I don’t know what I can say about Tony’s run at Bristol. (more…)
Instead of a my usual post-race article- I was inspired by the facebook status of one of my friends, to write Tony a letter. If you want to read the team race report you can find it here.
I could tell before a single word came out of your mouth in your post-race interview that you were disappointed with your results at Michigan. You finished 9th and remained 10th in the standings- hanging onto the last chase position by your fingernails. Your words after the race equaled the frustration you carried on your person and in your countenance. At one point you even exclaimed that you were “wasting” a chase spot.
Your frustration is well founded. It’s been a challenging season to say the least. If it could go wrong it has. Everything from uncommon pit road errors (commitment cone violation and removing equipment from pit road) to getting caught up in other people’s crashes has led to a yo-yo of season that is currently in that stage where the yo-yo is spinning at the end of the string- waiting to be pulled back up.
I think that you know that it’s not a matter of if the yo-yo will come back, but when. It can, however, seem like an eternity while it dangles precariously at the end of the string before rebounding. And while your yo-yo of a season sits there spinning, it is important that you know that this fan acknowledges and understands your frustration. You see, we fans ride along vicariously with you. We feel your elation and pride during the good times in our heart and soul and we are just as crushed by the defeats and disappointments.
That being said, you are still 10th in points. Despite the frustrations you feel- there is a reason for that. Something is working enough that you have earned that points position- it’s not wasted. Don’t lose hope. I have no doubt that you and the #14 will be in Victory Lane soon, but until that time, just know that I continue to stand behind you and the entire #14 crew. As one of my Facebook friends said in her post-race status update– Keep Digging Tony (and crew)!
I find it kind of weird to write a about a rumor (that is exactly what it is- a rumor- as Stewart-Haas Racing tweeted on August 17 that “it’s all speculation until you hear it from Tony Stewart” and I don’t know about you all- but Tony hasn’t called* to tell me anything so I will continue to treat it as such until I read a formal announcement). The silly season stuff can get kind of crazy and I don’t really delve too deeply into it because it’s all speculation anyway. But you know if has to do with Stewart-Haas Racing I am probably going to at least ponder it, and possibly even write about it.
Last week I talked about a sackpack donation event where Tony Stewart helped the Office Depot Foundation donate 5000 sackpacks filled with school supplies to Indiana children. In my post I mentioned the excitement on the face of one little girl in the big group picture and how I could just TELL that she was excited to get her sack pack. Well I was forwarded this picture today of that same little girl proudly posing with her sack pack…is she not adorable and obviously happy? (more…)