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(I ended up breaking this post up into two parts because it was just too long once I added in all the pictures.  Enjoy and watch for Part 2: Sunday tomorrow–Amy)

As I mentioned in a post several weeks ago- I had really been jonesing for a race.  I LOVE being at a race track and Race Sonoma couldn’t possibly get here fast enough for me. Sonoma Raceway is slowly worming it’s way into my heart as one of my favorite tracks that we get to attend in person.  The weather is almost always beautiful when the NASCAR race is there and we seem to almost always find something fun to do off track as well as have incredible adventures at track. After all it was at Sonoma Raceway that Misty interviewed Jeff Gordon a couple of years ago.  Anyway- I had been looking forward to this race pretty much since March.

I love the smell of oil, gas and nomex in the morning.

Friday morning garage picture as tweeted on June 20th, 2014 from my phone. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Our Friday at Sonoma Raceway started bright and early. It’s kind of ironic to me that Misty and I spend a good majority of the vacation hours that we each earn at our respective jobs for our “racations” where we tend to be up and at it just as early (or in my case specifically – earlier) and just as hard as we do for our jobs.

Anyway- I had heard that both Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick were running patriotic paint schemes at Race Sonoma. So my first mission was to try to capture photos of them. My favorite place to do that is as the cars are being rolled out of the technical inspection tent. I caught them and a few more: (more…)

Tony Stewart and his Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet on track in Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/CIA Stock Photography, Inc)

Kentucky Speedway is one of the newest stops on the Sprint Cup Schedule but it seems to me that it has the surface of an old track; bumpy and cantankerous. It’s almost like taking a step backwards to a time when racing was racing, to a time when the vehicle you raced was one you had driven off the showroom floor, when the stock in stock car racing was true.

Tony qualified his number 14 Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet 13th for the Quaker State 400. If you are still unfamiliar with the new “knockout qualifying” format- this means he was the best of the drivers who didn’t advance to the final round of 12 drivers in qualifying. Honestly it isn’t a bad effort if you look at Tony’s qualifying record over the length of his career.  I decided on a lark to listen to qualifying at work using my listen online function of SiriusXM for the first time. I have to say just as with the first time I listened to the race on SiriusXM I loved listened to qualifying for the first time with the PRN crew. They really do do an excellent job. I will definitely make this a regular occurrence as often as I can since qualifying does tend to be while I am at work. (more…)

Today’s TQMS is one of my favorite Tony vs The media moments- right here on video coming out of the man himself:

And here is an early gratuitous Tony Stewart picture because do I need a reason? I didn’t think so:

Here is a picture of Tony Stewart in Sonoma last weekend. This is not one of mine…it’s way too good :-) . (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official store Facebook/Tommy Grassmann/CIA Copyright, CIA Stock Photography, Inc)

 

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous TQMS posts.

#GoTonyGo #StandWithSmoke

I got back from Race Sonoma yesterday afternoon- and started on the downloading and editing of nearly a gig worth of pictures between loads of laundry unfortunately I only got about half way through the pictures as of last night and today it was back to the grind at work so to hold you all over check out the last two installments of Mobil 1 Oil: An Odyssey until I can get that race diary up: (more…)

(Don’t let me fool you- it’s only Thursday- but the TQMS has to be early this week since Misty and I are Sonoma bound!– Amy)

Tony Stewart at Sonoma Raceway 2013 (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

“Every time you go there, it’s fun. It’s a fun track, great area and it’s really a perfect place to go and enjoy a NASCAR weekend. It’s an unconventional NASCAR weekend because it is a road course, but it is one of the races I truly look forward to every year. It’s nice to get out of the box of what we do weekly and Sonoma is an awesome, awesome racetrack that has a lot of history. It’s very challenging and that’s why drivers like it.” Tony Stewart, The Pre-Sonoma Team Release

 

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous TQMS posts.

#GoTonyGo #StandWithSmoke

Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers

Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers during the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Raceway (Photo Credit: The Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page/Tommy Grassmann/CIA Stock Photo Copyright, CIA Stock Photography, Inc.)

I had no idea how this race would play out. The qualifying on it’s own wasn’t the best considering that the #14 team’s performance over the last several weeks showed marked improvement. At Michigan however Tony qualified the #14 Bass Pro Chevrolet 26th. It was a bit disappointing considering that the 14 team’s performance over the last several weeks showed marked improvement. But then on the first practice on Saturday morning Tony finished 6th on the speed charts. And then later during last practice- they finished 31st on the speed charts. Down and up and back down again. And while I honestly don’t usually pay too much attention to practice speeds this yo-yo of performance left me wondering what the heck the race would be like.

During the first lap of the race there was a caution, then the race went green again and again there was a caution. By this time Tony had already moved up into the top 20 but I thought it was possibly due to attrition because of the cautions. Then the race went green for awhile and Tony was able to steadily march forward into the top 15, then the top 10. Yeah this definitely wasn’t attrition at work- Tony had himself a competitive car that he could pass with.  Another good sign was that while listening to his radio he didn’t say too much about the car’s handling. At one time during an early pit stop he did ask for a little more air pressure with one of the rear tires but that was really all he said for a majority of the race. (more…)

Tony Stewart and his Dad

Tony Stewart and his Dad, Michigan 2013 (Photo Credit: TonyStewart.Com Media Gallery)

“Probably the first 10 years of my life in racing, we raced together with our go-karts. I would say probably our greatest memory is the first Grand Nationals that we went to in Iowa together. We won out there, and I think it was about four o’clock in the morning when we finally finished. I was 12 years old, so it was way past my bedtime, but it was the first time I had seen that much excitement in my father’s face. I guess he realized more at the time what we had accomplished than what I realized had happened.” Tony Stewart, Pre-Michigan Team Release

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous TQMS posts.

#GoTonyGo #StandWithSmoke

The 14 Mobil 1 Chevy

The 14 Mobil 1 Chevy at Pocono 2014 (Photo Credit: Glenn Bure for BadGroove.com)

Pocono and it’s quirky triangular shape- I have always had a love/hate relationship with watching races at Pocono. I still call it “the evil little triangle” why I call it little- I don’t know- it’s actually quite a large and oddly shaped track.  Tony’s runs have been either really good there or really bad there. I was kind of dreading it this season figuring that with the way things have been going for team 14 this season it was going to be one of those bad tracks.

The 14 in her garage stall (Photo Credit: Glenn Bure for BadGroove.com)

However the Tony qualified 12th! I was kind of hopeful. He seemed to do alright during practices- again this had me even more hopeful. (more…)