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The pit crew hard at work

The pit crew of Tony Stewart is hard at work on pit road trying to repair damage at Talladega Super Speedway. (photo credit: Tony Stewart Official Store)

So wow- Talladega was a cluster of a race wasn’t it?  That is two weeks in a row where NASCAR has suffered some sort of major FAIL regarding a Chase (playoff) race.  Last week if you remember – ABC failed to show the first 26 laps of the race at Charlotte because of a college football game.  This week? NASCAR failed themselves by up and changing the qualifying process (yet again). Obviously the drivers themselves didn’t understand it much either- because many big name drivers- including several CHASE eligible drivers only made the race on owner points/championship provisionals. Hey NASCAR- SOMETHING IS WRONG with your new qualifying format if drivers in the Chase only make the field because of owner points/past champions provisionals.  Fans and teams alike just got use to the new qualifying format and then NASCAR had to go throw a wrench in the plans? That is NOT cool.   What also concerns me about this qualifying format is that drivers with full-season funding and sponsorship did not make the field (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) – yet one-off drivers riddled the field (Mike Wallace, Terry Labonte, Michael Waltrip).  I honestly do not know what NASCAR was thinking there.

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I just want to take second to THANK everyone for all the support for the last post (the Open Letter To GMA). It was truly overwhelming to see how many of you out there not just felt the same way as I did but shared the link, shared your thoughts (either on the original post, on FaceBook, on twitter)! While I have no doubt that my letter did little in the overall scheme of things- especially judging on the ABC Nightly News coverage this evening, I like to think that us fans banding together at least showed that Tony Stewart fans NASCAR fans are not blind to slanted, biased reporting.  Hopefully it somehow got back to Tony and his people that we support him on a wide scale. Onto the actual post.

I think after the post-race antics last Saturday night, most of the NASCAR world was waiting and watching to see what the NASCAR sanctioning body would dole out.  I know I certainly was. In case that you haven’t heard yet (and I know most of you have) these were the penalties doled out by NASCAR today:

Brad Keselowski was fined $50,000 and placed on probation through the Phoenix race. Tony Stewart was fined $25,000 and placed on probation through the Phoenix race.

I know everyone has thoughts on what should and should NOT have been done with the penalties. I know I certainly do and judging by some of the things I read on social media afterwards my thoughts may not be the most popular ones. So I ask that you approach my thoughts with an open mind- and remember these are MY opinions and nothing more.

What NASCAR Did Right (more…)

Dear Robin Roberts, Gio Benitez, and GMA producers (oh and you too Inside Edition):

Your coverage of the post-race tussles after Saturday night’s NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was so off-the-mark that if it didn’t drag Tony Stewart’s name though the mud, it would have been completely laughable. Your story glossed completely over the main points of the brouhaha (involving on and off track incidents between Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth) and instead focused on a tiny portion of the incident where Tony Stewart stood up to Brad Keselowski for being collected as collateral damage in the pit road portion of the skirmish with Matt Kenseth.

Sadly, your report does not surprise me. I watched mainstream media outlets with a limited knowledge of motorsports instantaneously vilify Tony Stewart in August for a tragic accident.  Unfortunately I have to throw you into the trash bin with them- because that piece that you aired? It was so obviously meant to be a sensationalistic piece that it had no real news value other than to stir a pot that should be off the stove by now.

May I ask you this? Have you ever been to a NASCAR race? I have been to more than 20. A lot can happen during a 500 mile race- did you even watch the race you commented on? I did- well all except for the first 26 laps that ABC decided not televise, opting instead to televise a college football game instead of the professional sporting series playoff race (that is that the Chase is- it’s NASCAR’s version of the playoffs) they were scheduled to air. But I digress. What Tony Stewart did there? Any driver would do. That’s NASCAR speak for “Hey don’t involve me in your drama.” It would not have gotten billed as it did if it had been any other driver standing up to being collected as collateral damage from Brad Keselowski’s temper tantrum.  Oh and by the way- all drivers have them at some point. It’s called passion for their sport.

Have you ever bothered to talk to a Tony Stewart fan? I can’t answer for all of them- only myself.  But let me tell you just a little bit about why I am a Tony Stewart fan.  I find Tony’s passion for racing, for being lucky enough to do what he loves, inspiring to witness.  Tony can race nearly anything with wheels and does it with PASSION (have you seen his career highlights). But that is not the only reason I am a fan. I am a fan because Tony races with his heart on his sleeve and has from the very beginning. It’s his honestly (sometimes brutally so) and passion for ALL forms of motorsports that drew me in.  I stay a fan because despite his hardcore, old school, intense racer attitude and driving style, the man has a huge heart.  I was lucky enough to have interviewed Tony several times (Interview 1, Interview 2, Interview 3) for this very blog. He was always thoughtful, more than friendly, and very forthcoming with his all of his answers, but when the topic turned to his charitable foundation and the work they do with children and animal charities- his entire face lit up and body language changed.  THAT right there, is why I am a fan.

Yes, Tony Stewart was involved in a terrible accident where a young driver lost his life.  But this is just it- it was an accident and was deemed so by a Grand Jury for goodness sakes.  As a motorsports enthusiast, a NASCAR blogger and yes a diehard Tony Stewart fan- I do not want to see Tony Stewart forced to filter his words, his actions, or who he is for the rest of his career because news anchors like yourself are going to throw an accident back up into his face at any given moment. It’s already something that Tony has to live with every day, I am sure he does that enough as it is.

So please, the next time you do a piece on a subject unknown to you- do some research, attempt to familiarize yourself with it or at the very least default to someone who does understand it instead of trying to be the first out there to smear someone’s name. It’s not becoming.

Sincerely,

Amy K. Marbach, BadGroove.Com

Tony Stewart with a young fan before the #BOFA500

Tony Stewart with a young fan before the #BOFA500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway October 11th, 2014. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store/David Yeazell/CIA Stock Photo Copyright)

Tony Stewart gets serviced on pit road

Tony Stewart’s #14 Bass Pro Chevrolet gets serviced on pit road on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

So much for flag-to-flag coverage of the chase races huh?  For all that NASCAR has done building up this new Chase format- building it to be more like traditional playoffs like you see in other series, did they ever have an epic televised coverage fail on Saturday. Did you tune in on Saturday expecting to see the 5th race of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint cup? So did I. Were you disappointed to see college football instead? ME TOO! (more…)

I was in Vegas during the Dover race- using the truck race as an excuse to visit Misty (I’ll post a truck race post soon)! Because of this I didn’t listen to the radio on Sunday or give the race my full attention so I have not much to say….but I did want to share these awesome pictures provided by photographer Jessica Bure for us from DOVER:

Friday:

Tony on track at Dover

Tony on track at Dover on Friday. (Photo Credit: Jessica Bure)

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous editions of the TQMS posts.
#iStandWithSmoke

Just because I can’t look gift race photos in the mouth here are some more from New Hampshire!

More Tony Stewart pictures from New Hampshire:

Tony Stewart and David Ragan

Tony Stewart and David Ragan have a conversation at New Hampshire Speedway, September 2014. (Photo Credit: Jessica Bure)

Tony Stewart and David Ragan

Tony Stewart and David Ragan still in conversation while Kyle Busch looks on at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, September 2014. (Photo Credit: Jessica Bure)

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Tony Stewart On Track

Tony Stewart on track in his Code 3 Associates #14 Chevy at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sept 2014. (Photo Credit: Jessica Bure)

I am going to start this post by apologizing right now- obviously my picking Jeff Gordon for the Championship has thwarted him somewhat.  Forgive me Jeff Gordon, team 24 and all your fans.  I promise from this point forward to root for Joey Logano (ok not really) as 2014 Sprint Cup champion.

Okay now back to business.  Between knowing that Tony had qualified 28th and that he had spun out during the last five minutes of final practice I admit I didn’t think this would be our breakout race of the season.  What I didn’t bargain for was the fact that I was ready to throw Tony’s crew chief under the (proverbial- for some reason I feel that I need to clarify this) bus by the midway point of the race.  As you may know, my beloved readers, I am an eternal optimist when it comes to team 14.  I am the one always saying, “Well, we’ll get ‘em next week.” (more…)