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Every once in awhile I read a quote or something that just strikes a cord with me. I tend to write these on sticky notes (I am the sticky note queen- you should see my desk).  Anyway…this one was from Tony so I just had to share it with you:

“We have fun at the racetrack. We joke around. We have a good time. We make sure that we’re having fun doing what we’re doing because if you’re not, you can make yourself miserable doing this just like you can in anything else you do in life. We just simplified it and made it fun.”   Tony Stewart, Team Release

Yesterday was the second race of the NASCAR chase. I was in Vegas for the Truck races and on Sunday I ended up missing the first 22 laps of the race at Dover for reasons I will actually cover in a post tomorrow.  I was traveling during practice and qualifying- but my friend kept me up to date. Tony didn’t have the best qualifying run- and earned a 22nd starting position.

So there I am sitting at the house of my friend watching the race and then the lap 31 crash happened.  Wow.  Watching Logano flip ten times was scary. That was one of the more frightening wrecks I have seen in quite awhile. I have to say that I watched it live, watched all the replays and rewatched it again on Tony Stewart’s hot pass channel after I got home and I do NOT see it as being Tony’s fault. Bobby Labonte slid down in front of Logano who slightly tagged him and slowed up. Tony hit Logano and someone hit Tony. It was one of those chain reaction things that happen.  You know one of “them racin’ things.” Since Tony was the inrace reporter for the national broadcast we could hear him say that he was sorry that he just drove through Logano. What you don’t hear or see on the national broadcast that you did with hotpass was Tony sitting in his car under the red flag.  He sat there occasionally shaking his head like he felt REALLY BAD about the whole deal.  I am just glad that Joey walked away unscathed.

After the cars get rolling again after the red flag I see that Tony has front and rear damage, and am sure that has ruined his race.  However, the pit crew quickly patch his front and rear damage without Tony losing too many positions or going a lap down. Tony’s crew seemed to be able to get him in and out of the pits fairly quickly, and tony was able to gain some track positions. What I didn’t get was the call to bring Tony in during that last pitstop. I just don’t understand it. I think he may have finished better if he hadn’t come in…but what do I know.

Tony ended up finishing 9th and gaining one position in the points- moving up to fifth in the points standings, 106 points behind leader Mark Martin. Stewart-Haas racing team mate Ryan Newman finished tenth and retained his seventh position in the standings.

  • I am going to go out and stand on a really unpopular limb here and say this: Can we stop assuming that Mark Martin has the championship in the bag? The race announcers seem to assume that he is the winner. We are only 2 races into the chase.  A lot can happen. I realize he is the sentimental favorite of many (including my father), but there is a lot of racing left in the season (to paraphrase Mark Martin himself).
  • Also- can we please STOP hearing how old Mark Martin is and comparing him to Harry Gant in age of accomplishment factoids? I seriously do NOT understand why it’s even relevent.
  • Yes I heard Tony snapped at a journalist in the media room at Dover. Think about it people….these are the playoffs. I am sure a lot of the Chase drivers have other things they would rather be doing, like talking to their crews about their car, than doing media.  Especially when people ask the same questions over and over. I think we should start a list of questions media should NOT ask Tony right now or risk feeling the wrath of Tony. The top of that list? Danica. YOu wanna know more about Danica and if she is considering running a part time schedule in NASCAR still? Ask Danica not Tony.
  • Also- can we just have Tony win a race? Please.

This coming weekend we are at Kansas for Chase Race Three.

COMING UP SOON ON BADGROOVE: My first Camping World Truck Series Race and Why The NASCAR CAFE Can Suck It.

Well folks, here we are- the CHASE is on.  Who will win? Well you all know I want Tony to win of course and Ryan Newman to be a very close second.  I also want the chase to be close this year- I want it to come down to at least Phoenix- but Homestead would be better.  I want it close and fast and fun!

I wish I had caught qualifying or happened to actually dvr it. Tony qualified 2nd- which is a totally awesome qualifying effort for him. I was totally stoked when I saw that he had qualified that well.

I had forgotten how stressful it can be to watch a chase race….Where is my driver? Who’s in front of my driver? Who’s behind my driver.  Wait is that my driver blowing up…no just Kasey Kahne, I can relax.  It’s stressful. I can say this…Tony’s car seemed pretty good for the most part.  He led some laps. The pit crew seemed to struggle a little bit- but we are talking tenths of a second differences between his pit stops and those of the then leader Juan Pablo Montoya.

Then something went wrong- a loose axle cap.  The team came in the next round of pit stops and fixed it but of course it ate up a bunch of spots. Luckily though, they didn’t get a lap down and thanks to Tony driving past people and a two tire stop Tony was able to make his way up to 14th position before the end of the race (under a yellow/checker because of an accident by AJ Allmendinger at the start finish line).

Overall the race could have went a lot better- however it could have been a lot worse…

After CHASE RACE ONE Tony Stewart is in 6th position in the chase, 74 points behind Chase leader Mark Martin, who won the race at Louden. Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman finished seventh at the race and climbed to 7th in the chase standings.

So am I the only one who has noticed that there is a fairly “new” trend in naming the pit crews? I like it. I think it gives the pit crew’s personality! The first moniker for a pit crew i heard was for Matt Kenseth’s KILLER BEES. Fitting. They usually are (were) wearing yellow and black. Bees are fast and sting and I tend to avoid them since I am afraid of them. Then just this year Biffle and 3M held a contest to name his pit crew. They came up with The Pit Bulls. Another fitting one…but I think it would also work for any of Red Bull driver’s crews…

My favorite however, has to be one I just learned about today…and that is the Home Depot team. They apparently are marketing themselves as Logano’s Paisanos. I don’t know why but I LOVE IT. They even have themselves an AWESOME shirt (click on shirt to go to ordering site it Joegibbsracing.com):

I mean what’s not to love? The name even rhymes.  Personally I think the shirt is freaking awesome!!!

However I think Tony’s pit crew needs a name- mostly because I am TIRED of typing TEAM Office Depot/Old Spice over and over.  It’s tiring frankly and I don’t like slashes.  I can NOT think of a good name for them to save my life.  NOR can I think of a good for any team…(I think Kyle’s team needs a name too).  I kinda came up with a name for Ryan’s pit crew…but it’s kinda lame.  So …any ideas people? I know you are a creative bunch…give it to me.

(By the way- my name for Ryan’s pit crew? Newman’s Soldiers? I told you it was kinda lame.)

Instead of doing my usual regurgitation and takes on the race from the standpoint of a Tony Stewart fan…I am just simply going to write a letter to Team Tony.

Dear Team Office Depot/Old Spice (and Burger King for two one more races):

You guys were so ON IT at the beginning through the middle of the season. Lately, however, something is just slightly OFF.   I obviously don’t know what but we really REALLY need to pull it together. It can’t be the pressure of whether or not you are making the chase because you have been locked in for several weeks.  You are not the only team that is off lately (Jimmie/Chad/Team Lowes comes to mind)…but you are my team!

The last two races alone wayward lugnuts have ruined our pitstops and lost us major positions. Now I am not saying it’s just the pit crew. Tony obviously had a mea culpa moment on the track today…and he said it right over the radio.  I think that some how we just get frustrated. Mistakes happen- but come on guys we need to recover!!

I know you all know that the next ten races are it. This is GO TIME.  We KNOW you have the equipment. We KNOW you have the driver. We KNOW you have the pit crew. Let’s just make them all work together.  If something happens…don’t get frustrated- just dig in a little deeper. I know you guys can do it! GO TEAM OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE/BURGER KING.

Let’s Go Fast! Amy

****

Notes About Richmond:

  • I have mentioned here numerous times that I have always been fascinated with pit crews. Kudos to ESPN and ABC for the pit crew cam. I LOVE IT. Just wish they had more of them.
  • Speaking of pit crews…one of the parts that has fascinated me is how they can run around the cars out there on pit road with cars just feet behind them, in front of them, all around them, buzzing in and out of pit boxes…nay PEELING OUT of pit boxes trying to get a leg up on competitors.  I know that there are safety measures (like mandated helmets and pit road speed limits) but still.  Tony’s run in with David Reutimann’s rear tire carrier was a reminder that those guys are in a dangerous job!!!  I think that because of the way David’s car was canted in the pitstall that he wasn’t able to see the tireman coming around to the other side.
  • Tony gets 50 brownie points for helping Carl Edwards down the stairs after the Chase 2009 class photo/celebration.  And to answer @KevinMBoots77‘s question he posed here, unfortunately my brownie points are really worth nothing but my admiration.  Although how cool would that be to have Amy’s Badgroove race wear. Hell…let’s get really crazy…what would an Amy’s Badgroove paint scheme look like???
  • I am majorly bummed that Kyle Busch did NOT make the chase. However to those who believe his is immature? Did you listen to his post race interview? If not you should (I am sure it will be on youtube some time in the next couple of days).  That was mature beyond his years.

And I will end this with: Let the games begin!

If you were watching the race on Sunday night at Atlanta you probably saw two of the four new Burger King commercials featuring my our favorite driver, Tony Stewart.  These are better than the ones where he is riding around in the car with the King…as I have made abundantly clear since the king began showing his plastic face on the TV I find him…creepy.

Anyway- these commercials are kicking off a national Burger King Ad campaign staring none other than Tony Stewart. The ad campaign’s purpose is a contest- where contestants can enter codes from products purchased (42 oz Drink Cups, 32 oz Drink Cups, and Large Frys). There are 42 daily prizes including things like Autographed BK race memorabilia, BK Tony Stewart Hats, and $25.00 BK gift cards.  There will be a grand prize drawing at the close for the contest for a Trip for FOUR for a “Tony Stewart Experience” to “hang with Tony and his team” or you can choose to take $10,000.  As much as I could totally use the $10k I would totally take the experience instead!!  I mean that is one of those maybe once-in-a-lifetime if you are one of those lucky type of people kind of experiences.

If you want to see two of the four videos (the Sockmaster and the School of Endorsements ones) you can find them on this website.  Here are some pictures from the commercial shoot:

Tony, Estrada and Carrot Top on the set of the School of Endorsements ad

Tony, Estrada and Carrot Top on the set of the School of Endorsements ad.

Tony Stewart, driver/owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, climbs into the hot seat to prove his love for the famous WHOPPER® sandwich in the latest ad campaign for BURGER KING® restaurants. The ad titled, “Polygraph Prep,” is the last in a series of four ads that begin airing on Sept. 7, 2009.

Tony Stewart, driver/owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, climbs into the hot seat to prove his love for the famous WHOPPER® sandwich in the latest ad campaign for BURGER KING® restaurants. The ad titled, “Polygraph Prep,” is the last in a series of four ads that begin airing on Sept. 7, 2009.

You also can get three free entries (no purchase necessary) by going to the Be The King of the Pit game site.

  • First off I have to give a shout out to my fellow Smoke fan Kevin M. Boots who was the one who told me about the contest (via facebook) because apparently I had been living in a cave or something. Thanks @KevinMBoots77!!!
  • Another one has to go to Valli of The Fast and The Fabulous because I didn’t know about the LIVE POLYGRAPH Mr. Stewart will be participating in at www.truthabouttony.com. Starting on September 25th fans can submit and vote on questions to be asked of Tony during his lie detector test.  These questions along with the question Tony being asked if he loves the Whopper will be asked on October 20th at 1:00PM eastern time.
  • Am I the only one who thinks that the name of the contest is funny? The Be The King of the Pit? That cracks me up and makes me think about last year’s old spice Tony Stewart’s Arm Pits ad campaign.
  • Also of the two I have seen (the ones in the above link in the third paragraph) both have funny lines that not only crack me up but have me repeating often. I can’t tell you how many times I have told people (and by people I mean my family – most of whom know I am kidding) “Put a sock in it, Sockmaster.”  And sometimes I find my self just saying…ESTRADA!!!! (say it with me!) These are way more funny to me than the old spice ones. But then again…I have a bizarre sense of humor.
  • If you get codes and you don’t want them??? Please give them to me…I REALLY wanna win.

On Sunday night I was perusing NASCAR.COM as I often do- looking to see if there was any important breaking news or discussions.  Since it was an “off” weekend for the cup drivers- I hadn’t really been paying attention over the weekend- except to know that Kyle won the truck race and Carl the Nationwide race. That’s it- so I was lingering about when a headline caught my eye on the main page mostly because it was under a picture of Tony Stewart. It said something to the effect of: Third Title Could Make Stewart One Of The Best.  Of course I clicked the link…and it was actually a link to a piece by David Caraviello who contends that should Tony Stewart win a third championship he would be among the “greats” in the sport.

Well, I had to butt in here with my opinion of course, and I know you all know where I am going with it.  Yeah…he already IS in my fan-biased eyes.  So he may not have more than two championships in Cup racing (yet! I have faith more will come) and he may not have as many wins as Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson, so strict number crunching may not have him up near the top of the list as a “GREAT” in the sport. But I honestly feel that being “a great” is more than just extrapolating some data and throwing it neatly into a nice little chart.  But if you do want to play that numbers game take this into consideration: he does have championships (and along with championships comes wins) in other series to consider (IROC, IRL, USAC and USAC Triple Crown).

Then of course there is the little venture Tony Stewart took on this year called team ownership. I have heard and read things discrediting Tony’s team ownership for a couple reasons . The two major ones seem to be because a.) Tony grabbed an established team. and b.) Stewart-Haas Racing has assistance from Hendrick Motorsport in that they get their engines and chassis (Is there a plural form of chassis? Is it chassi, like octopi?) from the iconic team.  To these naysayers I give a big hearty virtual raspberry to.  Stewart-Haas racing, in it’s former format (Haas CNC), if I remember correctly, did not have any top ten finishes at all in the entire run of the organization.  Nor did it ever have a car that ever at any point was ever even in the chase let alone one leading the points and the other poised to make the chase providing the stars and planets don’t line up against him.  And the partnership with Hendrick Motorsports? It was a preexisting partnership.  It was there BEFORE Tony Stewart signed on the dotted the line. Why weren’t people all up-in-arms before calling them a Hendrick Farm Team (or as my BFF called them: HMS-Lite).  I think even a casual observer with no vested interest or bias (I am of the biased) would see that bringing Tony on board obviously did SOMETHING (and for the record the aforementioned David Caraviello piece tends to agree with me on this).  Tony Stewart may be self-depreciating when it comes to his “smarts” but the man is definitely not stupid.  He is an accomplished team owner in the USAC series already- and I won’t even mention his myriad of other business ventures.

[insert virtual raspberry here]

Also Tony Stewart (along with many many other drivers in the sport) gives back to his community and causes near and dear to his heart through his foundation.  Not to mention that on top of that has been working with his sponsor’s foundation to give backpacks of school supplies to needy children.  I could go on and on and talk about all the great things the Tony Stewart Foundation does- but all you really need to do it drop by the Foundation website and you can see for yourself.

So yeah- I think Tony Stewart is already part of the list of people considered the “greatest” in the sport- even if he never gets that third championship (or fourth or fifth- hey I am a fan after all- I can dream). And yes I am a fan (prior to his change in teams- a favorite saying of mine is that “I am such a Tony Stewart fan that I bleed orange” of course that doesn’t work as well with his new color) so I am probably extremely biased in this opinion.  Nothing will really change that, just like nothing will change where I go with this website. I will always talk NASCAR. And my faithful couple of readers will always get to hear my views from my biased (fan) fingers.  And there will always be pictures of my dog and my nephew and who knows what else peppered in with my Tony Stewart ravings.

Michigan was NOT the race for my boys at Stewart-Haas Racing this week was it?  I mean it was bound to happen sooner or later- that Team Office Depot/Old Spice would have an off day- and that is exactly what happened. I mean it could have been a lot better. But it could have been a lot worse…(like Bobby Labonte for instance- who broke on lap 2 and never came back- thus securing himself a last place finish!).  While I watched the race, I am so use to Tony being a hot pass driver that I couldn’t hear what was going on with him but he was definitely struggling all day.  He didn’t qualify very well (18th).  At the beginning of the race he just didn’t seem to be able to come up through the field past 11 or 12th. Like he was stuck there.

Then the crew did a wicked cool two tire pitstop around lap 117.  I was honestly puzzled why they choose to do a two tire stop but it DID put Tony out in front (Tony was apparently puzzled too because ESPN played a snippet of him asking Darian “Now can you explain to me why we just did that?” and Darian explained to him that it was purely for track position).  Unfortunately the track position didn’t last long as Tony then began to fall further and further backwards in the pack.  He finished a dismal 18th, but not only retained his position as points leader, he also clinched a spot in the chase. GO TONY. Ryan Newman finished 15th and remained 9th in the points.  Brian Vickers was the race winner.

Notes about Michigan:

  • According to the official Stewart-Haas Racing race report they found out after the race was over that Tony’s car “had a spring that was out of its bucket” which I assumed is what caused a whole mess of handling issues (first he was tight and then he was loose).  What exactly that means I am not sure…sounds like a doohickey come out of a thingamabob to me.
  • When they threw that caution for rain at lap 7 and then the red flag? I was about ready to go outside, look up at the sky and shake my fists whilst yelling WHY??? WHY MUST YOU RUIN RACE DAY YOU INSIPID B*$#@? but worry not…I didn’t have to curse anyone- real or imaginary and the race continued on as normal not twenty minutes later.  Of course that doesn’t mean I didn’t curse during the race. I certainly did.  But I didn’t feel the need to go outside to do it.
  • Speaking of the brief rain delay- I loved all they drivers talking smack about how meteorologists are never right and they wish they could have a job that easy. That cracked me up!
  • Remember that those wanting to watch the rescheduled Prelude to the Dream- that will be run on Wednesday September 9ths at 7pm eastern (4pm pacific).
  • If you are going to be at Autoclub Speedway for the Pepsi 500 on October 11th, Stewart-Haas’s own Ryan Newman will be on the Opportunity California Fan Zone stage for a “story time” reading activity for children.

Next Weekend: Short track Saturday Night as Nascar moves to BRISTOL, TN!