After what was an extremely hectic race weekend from Vegas (I know I still haven’t posted about it- don’t worry I will-but I want to get Bristol out of the way before I get too far behind), I was looking forward to watching the racing action at Bristol from home. I love me some Bristol and it was a blustery and stormy day here on the central coast.
It just so happens that Tony Stewart was one of the hot pass drivers this race (his first time this year that I can remember) so I decided to watch on his DirecTv Hot Pass channel. I knew he hadn’t qualified too well (23rd) and that he didn’t seem to be all that spectacular in practice so I figured it would be one of those days where I was hoping he didn’t get a lap down too early (so easy to go a lap down at short tracks like Bristol and Martinsville).
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images North America)
(Side note: The photographer in me LOVES the above picture…LOVES it).
I happened to catch Tony’s (comical) pre-race interview and one of the questions was about how he and Steve were clicking this early in the season. He said that they seemed to be getting along quite well and the only issue Tony could even think of was that Steve is soft spoken and sometimes hard to hear on the radio- I have always heard that it is LOUD at Bristol and teams have trouble hearing each other’s radio communications anyway- so I thought that this might be an issue. I was wrong.
Tony started the race by thanking the team for busting butt to make all the changes they made on the race car (uh-oh said my gut that means that the car WAS crap out of the box and what they had was probably hit-or-miss). He also told his spotter to reign him in if he felt Tony was getting easily frustrated. I wonder how one reigns in their own boss? (Spotter’s jobs fascinate me but that is a story for a different day). It also didn’t sound to me like they were having any issue hearing each other during the race from what I could tell from the Hot Pass.
I will say this though…yes this is Tony’s third crew chief in however many years he’s been doing this in NASCAR but it means it’s my third crew chief too…and it was different listening to Steve Addington on the radio. Thanks to my lack of Sprint Cup Mobile on my phone now, this was my first time really listening to their radio communications and my ears (and brain) were use to Darian’s voice and now I have to get use to Steve Addington’s voice. I do like the way he calls Tony into and out of the pit box though…it reminds me more of Zipadelli.
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images North America)
My favorite part of the race was seeing Tony battle Brad Keselowski to stay on the lead lap. It was an epic battle and you could tell that Tony was driving his ass off to keep Keselowski behind him. He eventually succumbed to Bad Brad but thankfully a caution soon after gained Tony a “Lucky Dog” and he got back on the lead lap. Between attrition and a better handling car Tony had worked his way up to 9th and was battling for 8th. Tony ended up getting hit by Brendan Gaughan in the #33 and damaging the rear of his car fairly severely.
Another favorite part of the race (thanks to Hot Pass) was this gem between Tony and his spotter Bob Jeffrey (@eyeinthesky14):
Tony: WHO THE F@(K JUST HIT ME?
My second favorite thing was MY witty tweet after Tony got wrecked…that no one seemed to catch:
Ok so I spelled Gaughan wrong but it was STILL damn funny if I don’t say so myself. Seriously people- I am not usually this witty so soak it up while you can.
Anyway, as my tweet above mentions, Tony ended up having to take two pitstops under the caution to fix damage on the car and was able to not only stay on the lead lap BUT finish a fairly respectable 14th (he would have been 15th but Junior cut a tire on the last lap…perhaps karma was paying him back for cutting Jeff Gordon’s tire early in the race). Tony is currently 7th in the points standings.
NOTES ABOUT BRISTOL:
- I really HATE knowing that the drivers are getting introduced to a song of their choosing and introducing themselves and we don’t get to see it happening on the TV. In case you are wondering- Tony Stewart picked a different song this time. One of my favorite Toby Keith songs actually- How Do Yo Like Me Now? so YEY Tony for picking something non-Kid Rockish. Other songs of note: Brian Vickers- Back In The Saddle Again by Aerosmith (so fitting don’t you think?), Jimmie Johnson- Jimi Thing by Dave Matthews Band, Jeff Gordon- Theme to Flash Gordon by Queen, Kevin Harvick- Save Water, Drink Beer by Chris Young, and Dale Jr picked my second favorite Pantera song by choosing Walk.
- The “shit for luck” up there in the title is NOT something I called the race- that was taking words out of Tony’s mouth. He said on his radio after the race something to the effect of that he was pleased with their performance at Bristol despite having “shit for luck”.
Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, is interviewed in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)
Next race: AUTOCLUB in CALI…and yes I WILL BE THERE.