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The Coke 600 is not only the LONGEST race they run on the NASCAR Sprint Cup race circuit but it’s also the 13th race of the season. That being said I was really hoping to have something positive to report for our beloved #14 Office Depot Racing- like a win! But alas no win.

So my internet decided to go up and down like a yo-yo during the race. What that means is that I was unable to listen to most of the radio communication on the Trackpass Scanner (and yeah I know Tony was a hotpass driver- but I didn’t watch the hotpass channel because I feel that I lose too much of what is going on with other drivers on the hotpass channel).  I figure that there was some sort of handling issues with the car- but the only radio communications I got to hear was early in the race- Tony complained that Greg Biffle was short pitting and crowding him in the box.  We all know how that ended- with Tony hitting one of Biffle’s crew guys during a later pitstop and knocking him down (for those wondering- scenedaily.com reports that rear tire carrier Kevin McDowell was released early Monday- x-rays showed no broken bones).

On the plus side at least Tony finished 15th- which is better than where he started the race. See I am trying to find the positive- and there it is! He finished better than where he started. Tony is now 16th in the points.  Teammate Ryan Newman finished ninth and is now 12th in points.  I am still hoping for that first win of the season though- hopefully it will come next week since our reader @KevinMBoots77 is going to the race!  Race winner was Kurt Busch.

Notes from the Coke 600:

  • I love the fact that all four Hendrick cars had patriotic paint schemes! That rocked!  (yeah I know other cars had them too- but I still think that the Hendrick stable had the best! And that being said I liked Jeff Gordon’s the best of the four HMS cars).
  • Between the All-Star Race and the Induction ceremony and the Coke 600 it really has Misty and I hankering to go to Charlotte for our next “new” track experience.  We are already planning on going next year…look for a post soon about our excessive planning tactics.

Notes from the Indy 500:

  • This is probably one of the first years in a long time I didn’t sit and watch straight through the Indy 500 and Coke 600. However I did catch the last 100 laps or so of the race at Indy and all I can say it that that wreck on the last lap with Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Yikes.  Racer.com is reporting that Mike Conway underwent surgery to repair fractures to his lower left leg. He also suffered soft tissue injuries as well as a compression fracture of one of his thoracic vertebrae. He will be out of the car for at least three months.   Ryan Hunger Reay also suffered a thumb injury but NOT during the last lap crash but during an earlier altercation on pit road with Scott Dixon.
  • I hope that Dario will take Tony up on his offer of a place in the Prelude To The Dream! That will be an interesting addition to the field.

Next weekend: Pocono. Remember that the races are NOT on Fox any more- we have moved on to TNT.  Also-remember that this is where Tony and the #14 crew got it’s first victory! Let’s hope for a repeat!

If you have read BadGroove for any length of time you know that one of my favorite bloggers out there is Valli over at TheFastandTheFabulous.  If you have been reading the last couple weeks you know I have mentioned Tony’s Office Depot appearance in Pineville, NC today. Where is this going you might be asking? Well – Valli is going to be interviewing Tony today at the Pineville appearance.  I am so excited because I HAVE LOVED reading Valli’s other interviews over the years so I am so excited to read about her Tony interview.  Misty and I got to interview Tony at the Las Vegas Office Depot appearance and dispite the fact that I was NERVOUS (and you know- when I look at the pictures of us or the picture that Misty took before the interview of me- I can see the nervous panic in my eyes) it was an incredibly fun experience we hope to repeat very soon.  I can’t WAIT to read Valli’s spin on a Tony interview!  I will let you know when it appears but you will want to keep your eyes on her website TheFastandTheFabulous…or on her twitterfeed: twitter.com/vallih.

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Remember last week when I mentioned the Burger King promotion BK Sign and Race? Where fans could sign Tony’s hood for the July race in Daytona? Well it was an overwhelming success…in less than 48 hours 25,000 fans signed the hood. Did I NOT tell you they would run out of room quickly?   That is a great way to show our support of Tony Stewart and the #14 crew.   Unfortunately there is only room for approximately 18,000 signatures.  However- on the plus side- I made it onto the car! I am in the left hand arm of the U in BURGER right on the left hand edge. 

If you happen to get an upclose look at the hood of this car- can I beg you to take a picture of my name on it? I would love you forever- ok I pretty much already do…but I am just saying.

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Have you been following the official Stewart-Haas twitter account? If not? You totally should! Lately they have been doing scavenger hunts.  Winner usually gets a shirt and a hat.  Looks like fun! I can only hope they continue to do these when I am at a track!

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Here are some pictures that were shared with BadGroove.com from photographer Glenn Bure:

The Office Depot Chevy is rolled out at Pocono last year. (photo credit: Glenn Bure)

Tony at Pocono last year (Photo Credit: Glenn Bure)

If you need a printer or are considering upgrading your printer,  I implore you to consider taking part in the “Buy A Printer, Support Military Families” campaign being hosted by Office Depot.  The program is in conjunction with the Memorial Day Coca-Cola 600 and is quite simple…buy a Lexmark printer in an Office Depot Store or online between May 30th and June 5th.  For each printer purchased Office Depot and Lexmark will donate a printer to Operation Homefront.  They are hoping to donate 4,000 printers.

For those unfamiliar with Operation Homefront- they provide emergency assistance for troops, the families they leave behind and for wounded warriors when they return home.  They have more than 4,500 volunteers across 23 chapters and have been rated a 4-star charity by Charity navigator.  Ninty-five cent of every dollar donated to Operation Homefront goes to fund programs.

To kick off the program- Tony Stewart’s #14 Office Depot chevy will be running a special TV Panel at the Coca-Cola 600 race on May 30th:

Buy A Printer/ Help Military Families

Photo Credit: MATTER, Edelman Sports & Entertainment Marketing

It’s a great way to support the military and their families!

“I am very grateful to the men and women who serve our country, and that includes all of the military families who sacrifice time with their loved ones,” Stewart said. “They make it possible for people like me to do what I love and for fans to enjoy being at the race track every weekend. For any NASCAR fan who needs a new printer, now is the time to visit your local Office Depot store. Your purchase of a Lexmark printer will directly benefit a military family, and that is a great gift.”

As part of the Office Depot and Lexmark program, people can also engage with Operation Homefront and support members of the military via Twitter. Beginning now through June 5, people can give a “Shout Out” to someone serving in the military and be entered for a chance to win one of 10 Lexmark printers.  To participate, go to Twitter (www.Twitter.com) and tweet the name and rank of a loved one in the military, along with the hashtag: #OperationShoutOut, from your Twitter account.

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Also- consider joining the Office Depot facebook team.  Tony wants to rev up their following on facebook in a BIG way…14,000 ways to be exact. Come be part of the fun there by LIKING facebook.com/officedepot.  You will not only get info on great deals at Office Depot- but you will get great updates on Tony and the entire #14 Office Depot race team.  Don’t just do it for me…do it for TONY!

If you are in the Charlotte area (LUCKY) and have the time you may want to check out these Stewart-Haas driver appearances:

Ryan Newman has an autograph session TOMORROW May 26th at the Bass Pro Shop at the Concord Mills Mall (address is 8111 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord NC) from 5:00pm -7:00pm local time.

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Ryan Newman has an autograph session at the Kraft Racing Display on Tryon Street (between 4th Street and Trade Street) from 5:00pm to 7:00pm local time on Friday May 28th.  There will be 300 wristbands distributed starting at 12:00pm on Friday.  For more information visit Food Lion Speed Street Event website.

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Also I know I mentioned this before but it bears repeating…Tony Stewart will be doing an autograph Session on Friday May 28th at the Office Depot in Pineville, NC (9610 Pineville Matthews Road, Pineville NC). The event till take place at 4:00pm local time. There will be 700 wristbands distributed starting at 8:00am local time at the Office Depot.

I highly encourage any Tony or Ryan fan to attend one of their personal appearances- they are always a great time.  Well I only have actual experience with Tony’s so far…but I am sure Ryan’s are fun too!!

First I am actually going to start with the Pit Crew Challenge…I LOVE the Pit Crew Challenge. LOVE IT! I love it so much I purposely stayed off of Twitter because I KNEW it was a delayed broadcast on SpeedTV and I wanted to watch it without knowing who the winner was. Each run I would pick a team and root for them…loud enough for Roxy to go nap in her “safe place” while I watched. The best part of this year’s Pit Crew Challenge was watching Tony Gibson’s show of excitement when Ryan Newman’s US Army pit crew bested the 48 pit crew. All three Stewart-Haas pit crews did extremely well and should be proud! Denny Hamlin’s pit crew ended up winning the Pit Crew Challenge!

I watched the Showdown and the All-Star race. And for the most part I thought the Showdown was a wee bit more exciting than the All-Star race…not that it wasn’t exciting. I love that the Pit Crews get to be a part of the driver introductions for the All-Star race. And what do I love even more? That a lot of the crews bring out goodies for the fans at Driver Intros to toss into the crowd. I saw hats, shirts, I couldn’t tell what Kyle was giving away– but it would make sense if it was M&Ms…Tony Stewart even bent down and handed a fan his full Coke bottle. Those are the kind of things fans love – trust me- I know. I am a fan…and I would love catching a hat, tshirt or even a bag of M&Ms (who doesn’t love M&Ms). I also LOVE that Kyle and his pit crew BOW during their introduction. I LOVE THAT!

The race format is confusing to my parents- but not to me. However I wasn’t not going to watch with them (hello 52 in Flat Screen with SpeedTV in HD- it made it worth explaining the format several times). I did let loose with some curse words when Tony ended up getting collected in the late race accident. I was impressed he was able to finish as well as he did (Tony came in 5th) because the car seemed pretty damaged to me. Of course a lot of the field ended up involved in that last incident.

Congrats to Kurt who brought home the cool million dollars.

NOTES ABOUT THE ALL-STAR RACE:

  • As much as I like Kyle Busch…I still don’t understand what the problem was between him and Denny. I didn’t see the offense.  I saw Denny defending his position not cutting Kyle off.  Of course I only saw what the TV showed…
  • Can ANYONE explain to me why Ryan Newman was positioned 8th on that last restart? It didn’t make any sense to me.
  • Did not Taylor Gibbs give the best invocation? That was adorable!
  • *How can I not reference the song you KNOW is running through your head when you think of the All-Star race.

You can…kind of. YOU can have YOUR name on the 14 car…in your OWN writing. This is such a fun idea!!! Burger King is allowing you to put YOUR name on Tony Stewart’s #14 Impala for the Summer race at Daytona where Tony’s car will again carry the Burger King paint scheme.  If you remember he won in that paint scheme…how cool would it be if he won with YOUR NAME on his hood??? This isn’t just a chance to get your name- your name will be worked into the BURGER KING portion on the hood of the car.  I already signed up…I highly suggest you do too before they run out of room on that car!!

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Today is Tony Stewart’s birthday- so Happy Birthday to him. There are three ways you can celebrate Tony’s birthday today if you so choose:

  1. Go to the Tony Stewart Store in Indianapolis (5644 W. 74th Street) at 2:00pm eastern time. Tony won’t be there…but they’ll have cake. I mean, who doesn’t love cake? I love cake…
  2. Donate at least $14.00 dollars to the Tony Stewart Foundation (you can even decide which program you want your 14 bucks to fund) before May 31st in his honor.  By doing so you will be included on a big birthday card presented to Tony by The Tony Stewart Foundation.  It’s literally the gift that gives back. Who doesn’t love giving? I love giving…
  3. Watch the first two “webisodes” of Tony Stewart Off Track: THE ROOKIE and laugh your butt off. Or at least chuckle really hard. I will embed them here. Keep checking the Armor All You tube Channel and the Armor All Face book page for more information.  Before I get to embedding the videos – I have to say you can not hold Amy or badgroove.com responsible for injuries caused by laughter or cravings for jerky. Enjoy:

Episode 1- First Impressions:

Episode 2- Sounds Like A Rookie:

I really hope there are more…I want to see Tony’s progress on his Underwater Racing Machine that he may or may not be building.

So Dover is one of those tracks that I don’t have feelings for one way or the other. I don’t look at the schedule and think to myself YEY DOVER or AW HELL DOVER.   However I will admit that I might have been thinking something along the lines of  Oh please let Tony get at least a top ten…a win would be all kinds of AWESOME but please please pretty please at least a top ten before the race on Sunday -all the way through the pre-race tv coverage.

So Tony qualified 16th for Sunday’s race and right off the bat he seemed pretty pleased with his car- telling crew chief Darian Grubb with less that ten laps under his belt that the car seemed pretty good from the get-go.  He was passing people and was soon in the top ten.  Ahh maybe my good thoughts were working after all.  Listening in on the radio communications Tony seemed pretty pleased with the car’s handling except that he was a tick tight in the center of the turn (center third as he put it).

Pit stops seemed clean and well executed- a good job all around for the #14 team.  Unfortunately a trackbar adjustment on the third pit stop and changing track conditions made the car’s handling go to pieces and the #14 began to fall back in the field and was soon the last car on the lead lap.  It was not looking good.  I sat there just waiting for the leader to catch and pass him.  Luckily a caution came out and Darian and crew went back on some of the adjustments.  Tony was able to claw his way back up through the field and was also helped by a two tire pit stop with about 41 laps to go.  Tony finished 9th and moved up four spots in the points standings and is now only 37 points behind 12th place (currently held by Martin Truex Jr).  Race winner was Kyle Busch.

Notes:

  • After the race in Dover Tony headed out to Nashville, TN to help with the GAC Telethon benefiting the flood victims.
  • It was great to hear Tony and Darian working well together on the radio. I loved that they were maintaining a fairly positive attitude even after the handling on the car went catywhompus on them. YEY. The pit crew seemed to be spot on with their timing as well.
  • Speaking of the pit crew…it’s the ALL-STAR race this weekend…and what do I love about that? It means that Wednesday is the Pit Crew Challenge.  I LOVE THE PIT CREW CHALLENGE! LOVE IT!!!  It’s on Wednesday night on SPEED at 9 PM eastern time. Cheer on the 14 crew!!
  • Also on Wednesday for those of you with facebook accounts you will want to check out the ARMORALL Facebook page for a  NEW Off Track With Tony Stewart. This episode – entitled the ROOKIE is actually a comedic web episode that was filmed at Stewart-Haas racing…I can not WAIT for that either.
  • And for those of you with Twitter feeds…did you know Stewart-Haas Racing has an official twitter account? It’s @StewartHaasRcng. Follow them for race day updates as well as updates throughout the week.  You might also want to follow my feed at @badgroove.
  • Speaking of twitter…if you are tweeting about Tony…try using the #goTONYgo hashtags….I am using them until he wins. Hopefully it won’t be long!

All-Star Race is this Saturday. The Showdown starts at 6pm eastern and the All-Star race at 9:00pm Both are on SPEED this time.