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I have ALWAYS loved cars.  As far back as I can remember anyway.  My mom tells the story that she didn’t realize how observant I was when I was little until my parents and I were walking through a parking lot when I was about three and a half or so. I looked at a pickup truck- pointed at it and proclaimed “That truck has wheels like SweetiePie’s truck.” (Sweetie Pie was my pet name for my paternal grandfather). My dad looked at the truck and told my mom “She’s right!”  I have distinct memories of laying on the floor when my brother and I were little and playing with his massive collection of matchbox cars.  I always wanted to play with the black corvette but often was stuck with the black A-Team van instead as the cars were his and the corvette was the most coveted car in his collection.  When I hit junior high there were more posters of cars in my room then there were of people.

I bought my beloved 2008 Chevy HHR (which happens to be in the shop today getting it’s 30,000 mile service) because my RAV4 decided suddenly that it wouldn’t start when it was semi-warm 3 out of every 5 times. Long involved story made short: I took the RAV in several times to the tune of a combined $1000+ and they still could not seem to find the ghost in the machine that would cause it to not start.  I travel a lot by car and needed something more reliable. While having all the problems with the RAV, I rented a car for a trip to LA and ended up with an HHR because they were out of compacts which I requested in my rental reservation.  I loved the rental HHR and and by the end of that year I was the owner a shiny new HHR.  Then the new Chevy Camaro comes out about a year later.

I tell myself I couldn’t wait that long- I needed a more reliable vehicle, that wasn’t so high mileage (the Rav was 8 years old and had 196K on her when I turned her in as a trade in). Don’t think for a second, however,  it doesn’t kill me that the Chevy Camaro came out so soon after buying my HHR…because that Camaro is one SWEETcar.  If it was feasible for me? I would totally trade in my HHR – that I am totally satisfied with and love dearly- in a second flat for a new Camaro. I wish I could do an even trade kind of thing; somehow though I think Chevy and my finance company would tell me no. 

Last season you probably remember me going on and on about wanting to win the bright beautiful victory red Camaro that the Tony Stewart Foundation was raffling off.  I mentioned it several times last year so I know that if you have been a reader for awhile you must have heard me waxing on and on about the car.  I never entered that raffle…for various reasons (furloughs being one of the major ones). 

Well guess what? All is not lost because The Tony Stewart Foundation is raffling off another Camaro from Smoke! And believe it or not? This Camaro is even better than the one given out last season.  Why? It’s not just a beautiful car white car with a black racing stripe. This car has also been customized by Will Castro of Unique Autosports.  If you are saying Huh? What? Who? Will Castro does customizations of lots of cars for athletes and celebrities and had a show called Unique Whips on TV for awhile (think kind of along the lines of Pimp My Ride).  Will Castro and Unique Autosports actually did the customizations on Tony’s orange Lamborghini and his hearse (The Smoke Deville).  This year the Camaro the winner gets will be featured on Will Castro’s new show Unique Autosports Miami (show premieres on SpikeTV Feb 28th).

How cool would it be to not only win a sweet Camaro- but to win won customized by Will and the crew at Unique Autosports? Not to mention that the winner gets an expenses paid trip to the Stewart-Haas Racing shop in North Carolina, and a personal meet n greet with Tony Stewart as he hands you the keys and title to the car.  Raffle tickets are $50.00 each and there are 70 early bird prizes to be given away throughout the course of the raffle (early bird raffles will be March 15th,  April 12th, May 10th, June 14th) with the final drawing for the grand prize of the Camaro on July 26th.  Only 10,000 tickets will be sold for this raffle and proceeds will benefit The Tony Stewart Foundation’s many initiatives supporting care for critically ill children, drivers injured in motorsports activities as well as supporting organizations committed to the care and protection of various animal species.  If you are interested in the raffle go to SmokesCamaro.com now for information on the raffle and to buy a ticket.

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Also if you are interested, Tony Stewart and Old Spice have teamed up again this year to present an unique auction again benefiting the Tony Stewart Foundation.  After every victory- Tony will autograph his Old Spice towel and then auction it off with 100 % of the proceeds going to the Tony Stewart Foundation.  Fans have their first opportunity to bid NOW! Tony won the Nationwide season opener at Daytona on Saturday. The  towel is already on the auction block so get in on the action at this ebay auction if you are interested in owning a little piece of Tony’s third straight victory in the Nationwide Opening race (this year called the DRIVE4COPD 300) .  The auction ends the morning of February 22nd- so get your bids in today for this piece of unique memorabilia.

Ok- so my birthday was January 14th- but the best present I got was when my BFF came up the weekend after the 14th to visit me for my birthday. We did a lot of fun stuff and had a blast…but I HAVE to share the funny she inadvertently made.  We were driving to Monterey and she was telling me about how she went to Office Depot…”Yeah so I saw in the paper that Office Depot had a printer on sale and friend- it was a smokin’ deal!!!”  She didn’t mean to throw the Tony Stewart reference in there- but how funny is that?? That cracked me up – and what made me think about it was my trip to Office Depot on Saturday- I needed some post-it notes (and guess what? I ended up leaving with post-its, envelopes, and these really rocking Precise V5 Pilot Pens in Purple and Pink- they rock).  Plus I wanted to get a scratch card for the contest Office Depot is holding. It’s called the Smokin’ Hot Instant Win Game and you get a scratch card with any purchase.  You could win $100 dollar office depot gift cards, exclusive Tony Stewart posters, or be the lucky grand prize winner and win a 2 day Driving Experience with Tony Stewart at the SMOKE SHOW, A VIP Experience for 2 at the Coca-Cola 600 and $1400 Office Depot Gift Card.  Heck I would have been thrilled just to win the poster…but alas- I didn’t win anything on my scratcher. Maybe you will be luckier than I!  The scratcher game runs through March 8th so get yours today. Check out the Office Depot Racing site for more details about the contest.

Also-if you are looking for a behind the scenes look at the new Coca-Cola driver commercial look no further…

Enjoy…

Wow…I don’t know what to call the Daytona 500 today. When they were racing the racing was pretty good.  The problem with the hole though? That was sad that it seemed to ruin the momentum of a good race.  Over two and half hours split between two red flags –yowzer. That sucked for me and I was on a cushy couch inside…not sitting on a hard bleacher for all that time. I can’t imagine what that was like.  And Fox? Um- could you have managed to talk to Tony/Darian a little more during all that time? Granted maybe Tony didn’t want to talk but…you could have at least talked about what kind of problems they were having- I was left in the dark there. 

Tony didn’t have the best of runs. I don’t think the car was set up correctly- when they finally did talk to Tony he mentioned they were fighting a tight car.  And don’t ask me what they were doing to the car’s front end after each of the ends of the red flags- maybe because the track had cooled down so much between the red flag runs that it made his car undriveable? I guess we will have to wait for the official Stewart-Haas racing release that usually comes out on Monday or Tuesday.  I am not sure but he seemed to be nursing the car along somewhere between the 20th and 30th at the end of the race. He finally finished 22nd- after a caution caused by some cars getting together – including Kasey Kahne smacking into Tony fairly hard.  Ryan Newman unfortunately faired worse than Tony did- getting collected during an accident…and ended up finishing in 34th.  Unofficially Newman has 61 points and Stewart has 97 points. 

Race winner was a very emotional Jamie MacMurray- driving the #1 Tracker Bass Pro car during the second attempt at a green white checker.  This year not only has NASCAR relaxed bump drafting rules but they resolve to make three attempts at a green white checker finish.  Even though there was an accident involving Jeff Gordon among others during that second attempt the rule stipulates that if the race leader has taken the white flag under green that the race will end on that lap. 

I have to give a huge shout out to Dale Earnhardt Jr though for his amazing moves on that last lap and a half or so.  He came from 10th to 2nd by just ballsing his way through…what a great recovery for Dale Jr.  Speaking of Dale Jr…you can enter to win one of two Dale Jr. Prize packs here.

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Instead of my notes section that I usually do I wanted to share some pictures:

Race fans taking part in the pre-race Coca-Cola track walk at Daytona International Speed way this morning. (Photo provided by: Fast Horse PR)

And for our annual Daytona 500 viewing party spread I went with a Stewart-Haas Racing theme:

The Stewart-Haas racing theme spread included SHR sponsor products (purchased by me of course) of: Burger King, Coca-Cola, Oreos, Ritz, and Tornados. Other items included Tony Stewart Origianl BBQ on the ribs we ate for dinner that night, Stewart's brand soda and Cheetos cuz I love 'em. (Photo Credit: ME!)

My dad decided that just laying out one of the hash brown tots things from Burger King didn't cut it and built the leaning tower of hashbrown tots. (Photo Credit: ME!)

On Friday I had the chance to watch Tony’s media session on NASCAR.COM at work (I was on lunch)….I even took notes people. But unfortunately in my haste to escape work on Friday evening and get home I left my post-it notes in a little pile on my desk (I knew I should have slipped them into my purse right after the media session).  Anyway, while I was watching his media I happened to have TWITTER going at the same time.  And the general consensus among several of the media people I follow was that Tony was in a bad mood.  However from where I was sitting he seemed to be in a pretty good mood- he may have been a bit of a smart-ass- but that is why I like him.  Whatever his mood he had several interesting things to say…and they are all sitting on my desk at work…so this is from my shoddy memory instead of cute little post-its (they are cute- and I got them at Office Depot- they say TOTAL CRAP on them. Today I went to Office Depot to get more of them but they were out so I had to settle for post-it’s that say WHEN PIGS FLY instead).

When asked about his frustration with never having won a Daytona 500 he said that well it was frustrating sure BUT at least he still has opportunities to win the Daytona 500…he does not feel he has any more opportunities for a shot at an Indy 500 win and that frustrates him more.  He wants that Daytona 500 trophy even if his legs are on fire- give him him trophy.  He was also asked if he thought NASCAR was too safe or if he thought fans thought NASCAR was too safe.  This is where he got a little bit of his smart ass answer going by replying that what if he thought that the media center was too safe because all the media present were sitting in chairs with four legs so he was going to come through and saw a leg off of each of their chairs…what would they think about that? Then he stated that no fan wants to see their favorite driver get hurt so no NASCAR is not too safe.  I have to say personally I agree with him there- and anyone who thinks NASCAR is too safe is …sick. Because if they weren’t as safe as they are Dale Jr would have probably gotten hurt, maimed or killed in the wreck during the Nationwide race today but more on the Nationwide race later.   He also was asked how much more winning this year’s Daytona 500 would mean after the loss of Bobby Hutchens wife Sharon in the off-season (Bobby is the Director of Competition at SHR). The thing that stood out for me that Tony mentioned was when he said that before he even decided to take on partial cup ownership one of the most important things for him was that family comes first for them.  Tony also gave away to the media in a “raffle” two of those awesome Tony Stewart Edition office chairs offered by Office Depot- which was kind of fun.  I would love one of those chairs- they rock!!

Also on Friday I ran across this great Tony Stewart interview that the Racing Fashionista’sdid with Tony down in Daytona…It’s a great read!

And can I just say YEY!!! Tony Stewart won the Nationwide Drive4COP race at Daytona today!!!  I admit that I didn’t watch the whole race- I saw probably about 70 percent of it between loads of laundry and cleaning and that kind of thing. But the parts I did see were action packed.  I believe Tony started 32nd or something like that…and within the first 10 laps of the race only 2 of them were green flag laps because of accidents.  I think that Chrissy Wallace was wrecked out by lap 2?  Danica made it to lap 64 or something like that. While her start wasn’t what I would call stellar it also wasn’t what I would call terrible. She had some good evasive maneuvers that got her out of trouble.  She complained that her car had “oversteer” which I think might mean it was a little to loose but I could be wrong there- I am not up on my IRL terminology.  She was taken out by an accident that was not of her creating- she got tangled mostly because she had fallen back to the rear of the field because of her ill handling car and lack of comfort in the car.  After about half way Tony’s car seemed to really take off towards the front of the pack.  He just seemed to be either in front or behind accidents enough to keep his nose pretty clean.  What gave him one of the best chances to win is when Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski got together and took half the field with him..including the likes of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Dale Jr who went on a wild ride upside down for awhile.  As Tony took the checkered flag Kyle Busch and others were wrecking further back in the field.  Was it just me or did Tony’s car make you want an Oreo cookie?

I am so excited for the Daytona 500 it’s hard to put it into coherent words.  I LOVE RACING.  I don’t know how to say it any other way.  Let me try to give you a couple examples. In 2008 Tony Stewart did a Home Depot appearance in Pleasanton California in advance of the race at Infineon up in Sonoma.  It was on a Thursday and it so happens that around the corner from the Home Depot is a pretty decent mall.  I begged my mom to go with me- (she had the day off but I had to use a vacation day) basically promising to take her to The Cheesecake Factory if she would go with me to see Tony.  Pleasanton is about a 90 minute drive from where we live…and it’s a lot hotter there than it is here.  Anyway- we get there- she get’s her Cheesecake Factory lunch and we go off to the Home Depot to get our wrist bands.  While we were standing in line (for hours and hours) there was a whelen modified series car on display in the parking lot and someone got in it and fired it up.  My mom looked over at me at about the same time and said “Why are you smiling like that?” and I just shrugged and said “I can’t help it.  I love the sound of a race car.” She rolled her eyes and said “You are your father’s daughter.”  That same year my dad got complimentary tickets to go see the Daytona Prototype cars run at Laguna Seca- so the three of us went and were walking around the paddock area and my dad was off doing the photographer thing and I was standing back with my mom and she looked over at me and said “What is that smell?” I chuckled and said “That is the smell of speed.  Techically its rubber, gas and oil…and probably some sweat.” She doesn’t get it. It’s a smell I LOVE. If I could bottle it? I would. 

Daytona marks the beginning of the new season.  We are warmed up with the Bud Shootout and the Gatorade Duels  were on Thursday while I was toiling away at work…I dvr’d them and promised myself I would wait…but I lied to myself and peeked so by the time I got home to watch them I already knew who won (Jimmie won in Duel 1 and Kasey Kahne won Duel 2) but that didn’t stop me from rooting for Tony. 

Mostly I am excited about Daytona because it means that in two weeks I will be at a track. Walking around with my friend and my camera…taking in the sites and sounds of a race.  The last race I was at was Phoenix- and it was in November- but it was TOO LONG ago.  The track at Las Vegas calls to me. This will be my third year in a row going to the Vegas race…and I can’t wait.

For now though, I will be contented to cheer on Tony and hope that he gets his first elusive 500 win on Sunday. Gentlemen…start your engines.

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If you are looking to enter my Dale Jr Prize pack contest go here.

Idea (wo)Man

Posted by Amy in General - (0 Comments)

I am sure most of you all know this, but this blogger has a day job.  It’s an 8am-5:00pm Monday- Friday sitting in an office talking all day on the phone about computers and technology and the troubles people are having with them.  I will say this…technology can make people really cranky when things don’t go their way (I have been cursed at, hung up on, etc and that was just last week- it’s life at the helpdesk- you grow a thick skin real quick).  One thing that this job is NOT is creative.  Pretty much the most “creative” thing I have done at work lately was figure out a way to fix my phone headset that magically broke one day (a paperclip and some electrical tape- and it’s nearly as good as new…except when the stray hair gets caught in the tape- kinda made me feel like Macguyver).

I commute about 20 minutes each way (slightly less in the am- seems to be less traffic for whatever reason).  During that time I am “writing” in my head.  Sometimes these ideas become blog posts.  Sometimes they become other written efforts (I like to fancy myself a writer remember).  Sometimes they don’t make it through the stupid Nissan Z that cut me off drive home.  However sometimes what I come up with are ideas that I think companies should use. For instance I have a couple of GREAT ideas for Tony Stewart Office Depot commercials. I have an idea that Office Depot stores could use to utilize Tony’s sponsorship of them.   I even have a good Ritz commercial for Tony…and a similar one that would work for Ryan Newman and Oreos.  I have some good ideas for alternate paint schemes for the Office Depot car.  And while a majority of these types of ideas have to do with Stewart-Haas racing- I do have some GREAT ideas for alternate Budweiser paint schemes for Kasey Kahne.  And some paint scheme ideas for cars that have sponsors that aren’t current NASCAR sponsors (APPLE, GOOGLE, STARBUCKS just to name a couple).  Unfortunately, these ideas just roll around in my head with all the other hare brained ideas and half-baked ideas.  I wish someone would pay me to think up ideas…is that an official job?

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Stay tuned for an exciting contest coming soon (hint hint- JR.)

Well Tony pulled lucky number 13 (although not lucky according to Tony) in the Shootout draw…but he didn’t stay 13th for very long. He quickly moved forward and stayed strong in the front of the field. He also made one of the coolest moves sneaking through the middle of two on that march towards the front. Tony even led some laps (yey). I didn’t love Brian Vickers and Tony getting together in the last segment and Tony slapping the wall. Unfortunately he ended 9th I think (results are still unofficial as of this writing). It was encouraging to see Tony out so strong in the shootout. I have high hopes for Daytona…I would LOVE for Tony to finally win the elusive 500.

My only issue is that I read that the Shootout MUST end under a green flag- so I was pretty sure that Harvick had not actually won but I guess he actually did. I guess it was considered a green-white-checker finish rule? I was a little confused about that. Congrats to Harvick on his win!

I am so excited that the season is starting….let’s go boys!

FoxSports has a gallery up with 26  paint schemes of the 2010 top competitors in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series…including our Stewart-Haas Racing boys.

The biggest difference for Tony’s paint schemes can be seen in the Old Spice car which now is a two toned Red (the original bright read accented by a deeper darker red on the hood and down the side of the car). I actually like it because it sets the Old Spice car apart from the Office Depot car just a little bit more. The only change that I can see on the Office Depot car is instead of a jagged lightening bolt in black down the side its now less lightening bolt-ish and more…I dunno curvy-hillish (that right there is a highly technical term so don’t go snagging it!). Well see for yourself:

2010 Tony Stewart Paint schemes as posted by Fox Sports.

I am assuming Ryan’s Army Chevy is going to look pretty much the same but they did include his Tornados paint scheme:

Ryan Newman's Tornadoes 2010 paint scheme as posted by fox sports.

Some of the paint schemes in the above linked to gallery didn’t look much different to me (Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon come to mind). One I wasn’t too thrilled with was Jamie McMurray’s Bass Pro ride…too much red….now it will be just another car to have to figure out how to weed out of my field of vision.  I highly suggest visiting the above gallery- it’s pretty weird to see Matt Kenseth for instance in the Crown Royale purple car or Martin Truex Jr in the Napa car.