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Obviously I love racing, and I have since I was a child. We have established this fact pretty firmly here. But what you may not know because they do NOT necessarily go hand-in-hand is that I love CARS in general.  From the time I was about 10 to well into my teens my walls were filled with car posters. People new to our house who didn’t know any better could have probably easily walked into my bedroom thinking it my brothers- based on the posters. Everything from Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s to tricked out Nomads, Vettes and Camaros. This was way before shows like Unique Whips, Pimp My Ride and others became popular.

We had a neighbor at the time that my parents were really friendly with. They were an older couple (well older than my parents) and the man who’s name I have completely spaced on had a “hot rod” chevy pickup that he doted on during the weekends. He would be out in the driveway washing it or working on it. Anyway- long story short- they became really friendly with my parents and because of that friendship I benefitted in the way of tons and tons of HOT ROD magazines (and the like).  It helped develop my love of cars…but especially American made muscle cars.  I would drool over pictures of the cars- cutting out the ones I liked and making mosaics for my bulletin board.

I know I have mentioned my love of classics like the Split-Window Vette and the Chevy Nomad many times here (and on facebook)…and if I were in a position where I could own a couple of classics both of those top my list of cars to own*. My love for the Nomad is probably one of the main reasons I own the my CHEVY HHR. They are similar in body style (well as much as a gorgeous classic and a modern car could be anyway). I fell in love with the HHR because of the classic lines and body style that screamed classic car and modern day all at the same time (and the 1000 mile test drive in the rental HHR didn’t hurt matters much).

Well yesterday it was time for my service- so I took my HHR into my chevy dealership  where I bought her (yes I have her serviced at the dealer- because well I have a bunch of free services through them and they have really impressed me so far during my ownership of the car).  After I dropped it off- I met my mom who was there to take me to work (they have a shuttle but I work a couple towns away from where I live).  As we were driving past the front of the dealership what did I see? A 2010 Chevy Camaro (in a orange-ish red color) sitting right there smack in front of the show room. (Not in the showroom but outside).  Let me tell you right now? That little car is a sweet looking little ride.  I might have even drooled just a little bit.  During my lunch my mom brought me back to the dealership to pick up the HHR and I might have lingered just a couple minutes longer than I should have by the Camaro.  I couldn’t help it honestly.  I may have even mutttered “This is one sweet ride!” a little too close to the salesman who was charged with guarding it like hawk. But this is my first time seeing one of them up close and personal. And let me tell you…THAT IS ONE SWEET LITTLE RIDE!!! It was all I could no not to beg to take her out for a test drive. And yes I am serious. I may have had to fight the intense urge I had to lick the car!**

A huge part of me wishes I had waited to trade my little Rav in until now- cuz I would be all over that Camaro let me tell you that. But- I do love my HHR and frankly I need to love it cuz I am still paying for her.  And the Rav- well she was starting to be a problem- with the deciding occassionally not to start for no good reason that any of the Toyota mechanics could find anyway.  I was very disenfranchised with both dealerships I took her too to have her fixed…which no one seemed to be able to do and I needed more reliable transportation.

I was telling my mom about the Camaro and how I might have drooled just a little bit…she said I always thought you were more of an SUV/truck kind of girl…and I said they have their place- but I am defintely a CAMARO kind of girl!!

Now…if you happen to want a chance to win a brand new Camaro…and not just any camaro- but TONY STEWART’s CAMARO that is apparently sitting over at Stewart-Haas Racing’s shop- you can purchase a raffle ticket for $100.00- with proceeds benefitting the Tony Stewart Foundation (plus other early bird prizes as well). Let me tell you- if I had an extra hundred burning a hole in my pocket I might consider it.

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* Other cars on that list would include: 55 Bel Air, a 71 Hemi Cuda, 69 Charger (In Dukes of Hazzard orange of course) and I could go on and on and on…

** Ok…you have to remember that commercial…the volkswagon one where people where rushing out to their volkswagon dealership and licking the cars to “claim” the car theirs? My family and I have this thing that if there is something we want…we say we wanted to go lick it to claim it…I am not some weird car licking creep- I promise.

I have mentioned this a lot but I wanted to revisit it again. A lot of drivers have charitable foundations that do great things that are not only fun for fans but help capitalize on the love of their fans for the greater good.

Here are three great examples of things coming up (of course these are all Tony Stewart Related):

The Prelude To The Dream.  I talked about the Prelude A WHOLE LOT last season. I haven’t been doing it quite as much this season. Do I think anything has changed? NO! I am still GREATLY looking forward to the race on Wednesday. One day I will go in person.  What is so great about this race? Let me tell you: Lots of Big Name Drivers (Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Kasey Kahne, Ron Capps (NHRA), Cruz Pedregon (NHRA), Ray Evernham, Bill Elliot, are just a few.  ON DIRT. For no money, no points…just a trophy and bragging rights. I have ordered it on PPV for the last three years and have NEVER been disappointed. The cause this year are four charities that support injured and fallen military heroes- all proceeds go to these four charities. The goal this year? A million dollars.  If you can afford it- check out the PPV race (Channel 125 for DirecTV customers, for others check your listings. THIS IS THIS WEDNESDAY.

Invest N Vests. A collaborative effort between the Tony Stewart Foundation and The Greg Biffle Foundation to raise funds for to outfit 192 K-9 officers with bullet and knife resistant vests.  For each $10.00 donation fans are entered for a chance to win 25 percent of the pot (the rest going to www.vest4k9.com).  At this writing the pot is currently at $14,680.00.  The drawing is on Wednesday June 16th. Both the Tony Stewart Foundation and The Greg Biffle Foundation are committed to animal causes.

Smoke’s Camaro. Capitalizing on the love of cars many NASCAR fans have The Tony Stewart Foundation is having a raffle of a 2010 Camaro. Raffle tickets are limited (currently there are only 5,926 left out of 6014 available raffle tickets).   The winner not only wins Tony’s 2010 Chevrolet Camaro (in Victory Red), but they win a trip for two to Charlotte, NC and a personal tour of the Stewart-Haas Racing Shop as well as a lunch where Tony will present you with the keys himself (you also get money to help offset the cost of fees, licensing and taxes). Buy your raffle ticket early to also be included in the running for early bird prizes as well.  Camaro drawing is on October 5th, 2009. Proceeds raised by raffle will go directly to the Tony Stewart Foundation to provide funding for children, animals and injured drivers in need.

It dawned on me yesterday that I haven’t been talking about NASCAR DAY at all.  It’s very easy for me to remember when NASCAR day it because it happens to fall on my dad’s birthday.  It’s meant to celebrate the spirit of NASCAR and it’s fans…You buy a lapel pin for $5.00 from NASCAR, from the NASCAR Foundation Hauler at the track, or even at Sunoco gas stations (if you have those- we here in CALI don’t that I have seen). The NASCAR Foundation uses the money raised from the sale of the pins to support the charities on it’s list.  I have been taking part in NASCAR day for three years now and I bought my pin this year at Las Vegas Motorspeedway.  I will be wearing it on Friday proudly. This year I also signed up for volunteering opportunities through the foundation- however I don’t expect any to come my way soon- because NASCAR isn’t as popular here as it is in other areas.

Also- you will notice over there on the right hand bar is the animated gif advertising the Prelude to the Dream.  That is Tony’s dirt race for charity.  All the drivers volunteer their time to come out to the famed dirt track Eldora and race on the dirt.  Money raised through ticket sales and through the sale of the PPV race goes to the Tony Stewart Foundation. Previous years the foundation has donated the money made at the prelude to the Victory Junction Gang Camp (last year the event donated a million dollars to VJGC- and when Tony presented Kyle Petty with the check after the race Kyle actually kissed him- which kind of suprised Tony I think!)  Anyway I always support this race- it’s really fun to watch some of the best drivers (from all different series) back on the dirt and others driving on dirt for the first time.  This year proceeds to the race are going to be spilt evenly among five military charities that support injured soldiers and the families of fallen soldiers.  I don’t think there could be a better way to support our troops and thank them for all they do for our country.  I have been ordering this race for about three years now as well- and will of course be ordering this one. If you are interested at all in racing- I highly suggest ordering the Prelude if you can! It’s an awesome show and the money goes to a great group of causes.