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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…)

Misty texted me a picture earlier in the week that sums up her 2014 Chase Driver conundrum in a single photo:

There Can Only Be One

There can only be one (image found on facebook).

It’s actually kind of a cool, yet slightly creepy picture. But it describes Misty’s chase conundrum perfectly.  See Misty has been a Jeff Gordon fan longer than she’s be a NASCAR fan (yeah I know that sounds weird but it’s true-I can completely vouch for that). However, she has lately (within the last couple of years) been pulling for Jimmie as her number two with a catch: While Jeff Gordon is Misty’s number 1 driver, Chad Knaus is her number 1 crew chief.  I know Misty would be OVER THE MOON if Jeff Gordon won the championship, but I really don’t think she’d cry in her soup if Jimmie won.  So she is being pulled in two different directions but at least it is within the same organization.

Me? I am extremely singular in my fandom. (more…)

2014 Chase Class minus Jimmie Johnson

The post-Richmond 2014 Chase Class Photo minus ailing Jimmie Johnson. (Photo Credit: Credit: 301215 Richmond International Raceway)

So- the CHASE for the Sprint Cup Championship starts this weekend at Chicagoland.  There will likely be a lot of banter about it- since it’s the first year for the newly implemented grid style Chase that mimics more of a March Madness type of playoff (I am assuming- I am not a big Basketball person so you are lucky I even know what March Madness is). I am still not quite convinced that this is the format for my NASCAR but then again- I am old school.

So since everyone is doing it- I sat down on Sunday and picked my Chase Grid: (more…)