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Misty and I have attended every Champions Week since it moved to Vegas and we usually stand at the same spot for the victory lap on the Strip by where the cars do their burnouts. It’s a great spot and we have gotten some great pictures of the cars burning out over the years.  The bad part of this is that we end up standing out there for hours so our spot doesn’t get squatted by someone else and soon we are packed in our favorite area like live sardines in a can. Much like the red carpet at fan fest, chaos ensues. Last year I ended up getting hit in the back of the head by some guy’s lens hood on his camera- multiple times.  This year, though, we decided to try something a little different and hang out by the start/finish line (in front of Planet Hollywood). It was a completely different vibe and it was fun to change things up this year.

This is a beloved event and the fans line the strip for hours in advance of their favorite drivers:

Fans gather on one of several pedestrian bridges hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite drivers during the Victory Lap down Las Vegas Blvd (The Vegas Strip) (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

The start/finish line area of the Victory lap is much more like being around a driver introduction stage at an actual race: (more…)

This was the one event during Champions Week this year I was REALLY looking forward to.  I can’t even explain why- except that you all know that I am a fan of Chevy drivers, I drive a Chevy myself, my father drives a Chevy, I have a love of the Camaro, well I guess I am just a Chevy girl.  So I was REALLY looking forward to this.  I had no idea what to expect. I have been to one other car reveal in my life and that was for the Ferrari FF when I attended Ferrari Days out at Mazda Raceway At Laguna Seca (see A NASCAR Girl In A Ferrari World) a couple years ago.  When I saw that as one of the possible events on the calendar for Champions Week- I signed us right up!

Up until the reveal the only sight I caught of the 2013 Chevy SS Cup car that I had seen was on the Internet in it’s camo paint:

Tony Stewart drives the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet during NASCAR testing at Phoenix International Raceway on October 23, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona. (October 22, 2012 – Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America).

The “camo” paint does a good job of hiding body features…so I think. I was really looking forward to the reveal where I could see the new body style up close and personal- and I was hoping it wouldn’t have the weird camo paint scheme.

The Chevy reveal was our first activity in a Thursday CHUCKED full of stuff to do.  We got to the Wynn early and walked around until they opened the doors and then checked in and found seats (IN THE SECOND ROW) and waited excitedly. I was attempting to live tweet the reveal but neither Misty nor myself got ANY phone reception at all in the theater and very little in the Wynn in general. I think I was able to get this picture out and then nothing:

My Tweet Said: Waiting for the 2013 Chevy SS Sprint Cup Reveal (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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Fan fest for the 2012 Champions Week festivities in Las Vegas was held at the Fremont Street Experience for the second year.  Personally- I liked it better when it was held at the track because there was just something magical about being at LVMS when it’s quiet.  But then again, I am probably biased because LVMS is where I saw my first ever NASCAR race…it was at LVMS that I turned my already BFF into a NASCAR fan…and it was at LVMS that BG was first granted media credentials – so I have a special place in my heart for LVMS.    I guess that they figure that having at the Fremont Street Experience is easier for fans to get to (since the track is WAY OUT THERE)…plus I think the track has a festival of lights set up as many do during the holiday season.

Anyway-  several of the cup cars were on  display and a red carpet that the drivers would walk down to get to the stage where they would be playing  this year’s game show: Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?  The red carpet walk that the drivers take is an experience let me tell you.  People start claiming their spots HOURS before the drivers are scheduled to appear and then other tourists, who are there for non-NASCAR reasons will stroll by and ask what is going on and then upon hearing that they are waiting for NASCAR drivers to walk by in like three hours they give the fans a look like WOW really? You are standing here because a race car driver is going to walk by in like THREE HOURS? It’s kind of funny to judge their reaction- most give looks like the fans are seriously insane.  I don’t know what is more insane…standing around the carpet or walking around in public dressed as a storm trooper and Darth Vader (we seriously saw these characters walking around the red carpet interaction with tourists. Last year it was SpongeBob SquarePants. I don’t think they are official characters- just random people dressed up as them and then trying to make a few extra dollars posing with tourists.

So this year it seemed the red carpet was even MORE chaotic than last year. The drivers were kind of bunched together more than last year so that pretty much everyone was just screaming for their favorite driver’s attention but the actual chances of getting your signature seemed more difficult. I am not sure if the drivers also signed stuff on the way FROM the stage because we left a little early.

Here are some pictures from the event: (more…)

And just like that the season is over. Not much fan fare for this Tony Stewart fan.  The last two races in the 2012 season weren’t great for Tony. He spun at Phoenix to finish 19th and fought another ill-handling race care to finish 17th at Homestead-Miami.  Points wise, Tony finished 9th in the points standings for 2012. The 2012 Sprint Cup champion is Brad Keselowski.

Brad went into Homestead the points leader to a second place Jimmie Johnson.  Jimmie gave a valiant fight but was foiled by a bad pit stop and then a mechanical failure of a rear gear. The Race winner at Homestead-Miami was Jeff Gordon- who won at the track for the first time.  Jeff has now won a race at every current sprint cup track except Kentucky (Tony Stewart is right behind him at having won a race at every track except for Kentucky and Darlington).

Important Notes about Homestead Miami-

Tony Stewart ran two special decals at Homestead Miami on his car:

Tony completed his 500th start at Homestead-Miami (photo courtesy of The Official Tony Stewart Facebook page- click on picture to be taken to the original).

Tony Stewart also ran a special sticker thanking Office Depot for their 14 wins and 1 Championship. Office Depot resigns their spot as a primary co-sponsor of the #14 at the conclusion of this season. (Photo Credit: The Official Tony Stewart Facebook page- click on picture to be taken to the original.)

Important notes about Phoenix:

The biggest news out of Phoenix was the ontrack and off track altercations between Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and their respective crews.  While yes I was at the track- I did NOT witness the altercations personally.  However- I will say this about the whole thing: Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer have been rubbing each other the wrong way all season.  Jeff Gordon finally had enough and took matters into his own hands. He stood up for himself and I really don’t have an issue with that.  Yes he retaliated and yes he owned up to that right away.  He was fined a significant amount of money and points as well.  I felt the penalties were just. I do NOT think he should have been parked.  If you remember when Kyle was parked he had been parked because he had had multiple incidents of retaliation ontrack- some of which on pit road.  He had altercations in multiple series.  He was a serial repeat offender.  Prior to this Jeff Gordon’s last real altercation was fighting with Jeff Burton on track at Texas two years ago. My only issue with the fines that NASCAR levied as a result of the melee at Phoenix is that I think that Clint Bowyer should have been placed on probation as well…after all he showed intent to join the melee with his now famous sprint through the garage area and then having to be restrained at Jeff Gordon’s hauler.

I did attend the race at Phoenix. Phoenix is one of my favorite tracks that I have been to. Here is a collage of some of the pictures I took:

All photos in this collage are credited to me Amy K. Marbach. Click on the collage to be taken to the flickr photo album with the full sized copies of  these pictures (and more!) that I took during my race weekend in Phoenix.

I got a couple of good post ideas from my time at Phoenix that I hope to flesh out and share with you within the coming weeks.

 

We are here in Phoenix to cover the race…most of our stuff will be located on Twitter. Follow us and all our adventures at the track on twitter: @BadGroove and @Fyrstorm24

And this picture of Tony from Martinsville- just because I love it:

(Photo Credit: Official Tony Stewart Website- click photo to be taken to the original)

Unless you happen to be a Tony Stewart fan like me- I bet you didn’t notice the AMAZING comeback that Tony Stewart had during the race at Texas.  Seriously- I mean he IS a chase driver so I don’t understand WHY they failed to mention the while he had a mostly mediocre run at Texas- staying between positions 18 and 23 for probably 90 percent of the race- only to end up finishing 5th.  I am STILL not sure where he came from at the end of that race- but all of the sudden I noticed he was 10th (my Sprint Cup Mobile scanner for Tony’s radio only worked for about the first half of the race) after a round of pit stops.  I was previously distracted by the rivalry brewing between Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson. And then he was 7th, then 6th, then whoo hoo the race is over and Tony is 5th!!!  Now while I do realize that Jimmie and Brad are the main contenders for the cup right now and certainly they should garner most of the spotlight…I am pretty certain that Tony’s finish deserved SOME sort of mention.

Tony Stewart pits the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

The G-W-C finish may have pushed the broadcast over it’s allotted time slot a bit, but still I think it deserved SOME mention.  We saw replays of the restarts,  we saw and heard from Jimmie in Victory Lane, we heard from Brad about the last restart, how about “a let’s hear from Tony Stewart about that comeback to finish 5th” and THEN go to SportsCenter.  Because I watched the first couple minutes of Sports Center and then my attentions drifted elsewhere and they didn’t mention it so I wandered away.  That race seemed REALLY LONG to me.  I think I probably would have dozed off during the first 150-200 laps IF I hadn’t been listening to Tony’s scanner (thank you for keeping me awake Spotter Bob!). To tell the truth? This time change absolutely kills me. With the chase races starting later than regular season races combined with the time change- I was TIRED and the race at the beginning wasn’t THAT exciting until the end, so I got a little heavy lidded from time to time. Especially for Tony Stewart fans- who got to see their driver only on the scrolling banner on the top where the positions are and on a rare occasion during a pit stop to say well they are making adjustments.

Helmet shot of Tony

I LOVE these helmet shots of Tony in his helmet in his car. (Photo Credit: Copyright CIA Stock Photography, Inc. as seen on The Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page- click photo to be taken to original)

Like I mentioned, I listened to Stewart’s radio chatter as long as sprint cup mobile would let me- and they were throwing ALL kinds of adjustments at that car EVERY SINGLE pit stop that I heard.  Including putting shims in because the splitter was hitting during one of the cautions. They were discussing taking the shim out of the left front if they got another caution when I seemed to lose all driver radios so I am not sure if they ever made that adjustment.  I am not saying they should only focus on Tony- that would be boring and we would have missed the excitement of the racing between Keselowski and Johnson.  But just a couple more mentions through out the broadcast and after the race would have been nice!

Race winner was Jimmie Johnson, who has 7 championship points over second place Brad Keselowski.  Tony finished 5th, and moved up to 8th in the championship standings.

Notes About Texas:

  1. Something else you might have missed during the race- Carl Edwards hit his tire changer MikeLingerfeltduring a pit stop.  Yikes!!
  2. This picture of Tony Stewart from practice at Texas Motor Speedway humors me:

    Tony Stewart standing in the garage at Texas. (Photo Credit: The Official Tony Stewart website- click on photo to be taken to the original).

  3. On Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway- several of the Coca-Cola Family drivers took part in a Google + Hangout chat with fans.  If you are like me- you probably missed it, but fear not! They have the video up and I have embedded it for your pleasure (of course it doesn’t hurt that Tony Stewart is in it-  as is his 100 lb lapdog Hank…which reminds me of Misty’s Gidget who who was such a sweetie- she was german shephard/chow mix and also thought she was a 100 lb lap dog).

Next Race: Phoenix- and YES Misty and I will be there!

Hey Tony Stewart (and Ryan Newman) Fans!  Good news- Tony and Ryan will be doing a joint autograph session tomorrow (November 1st) at the Office Depot in Plano, Texas!  The Office Depot located at 909 North Central Expressway Plano, Texas 75075 will start giving away the 300 autograph wristbands for the autograph session at 8:00 am local time. One autograph per driver per wristband, one wristband per person.  The autograph session will start at approximately 3:45 local time.

After the autograph session- Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman will take part in another Ask Tony and Ryan question and answer session for fans.  The best part about that is that it will be broadcast live on the Office Depot Racing website- so that if you are not able to attend in person (like me in Cali) you can watch online!  The Q&A sessions are always a kick and I highly suggest watching if you can.  The Q&A is scheduled to start at approximately 5:00 pm Local Time.  And if you are unable to attend and unable to watch online- fear not! Office Depot Racing usually posts the video of the Q&A Session on their website a couple days later.  When I see it posted- I will post about it here on BadGroove.com.

So this morning I was checking my Facebook (feel free to friend me) because that is my morning ritual: Get up, get ready for work, check facebook/email while eating breakfast, grab my stuff and fly out the door. Anyway- I was checking my facebook when I saw a picture posted by Team Chevy that made me squeal with excitement:

Chevy Camaro ZL1 Tony Stewart Show Car Concept

Chevy Camaro ZL1 Tony Stewart Show Car Concept as posted by Team Chevy on Facebook (Click picture to be taken to original on Team Chevy Facebook page).

That right there is the Camaro ZL1 Tony Stewart edition and all I can say is WOW and drool (excuse me while I wipe my chin).  See…if you are new here or only stop by on rare occasion…I have always been a car girl (and when I say always- my parents noticed an affinity towards cars when I was three or four and was able to recognize the same model truck that my grandpa drove- right down to the tires in a parking lot one day).  When the “new” camaro came out the year after I bought my HHR I was sad that I missed out on buying it because I LOVED the look of the car.  I still love the look and notice every single one I pass on the road. When I go to the dealership for service or parts or whatever? I ALWAYS find a reason to sneak a look at the Camaros that are there. If my dad wants to drive through the car lots like he likes to do sometimes I like to go with him- to steal jealous glances and peeks at the Camaros.  My favorite one- up til now was the bumblebee special edition because I have always had an affinity for bright yellow cars. The last time I was at the dealer with my dad we were chatting with (and perhaps teasing) a salesman, when he told us that the bumblebee edition wasn’t really available anymore- but they could special order one that had all the same features pretty much and was yellow. Now I am like Bumblebee who?  Unfortunately for now it seems that this car is only a concept car but I REALLY hope that this means Chevy is considering making a run of special editions for the public…like they did back in the days of the Monte Carlo.  I still probably won’t be able to get one but damn a girl can dream right? By the way- if Chevy wants a plebeian (ie not a race car driver) to test out the Smoke Edition Camaro I am raising my hand and jumping up and down!

P.S. Hey HOT WHEELS we fans would LOVE it if you made one of those part of your car line up…I would have to have mutliple ones!