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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.

When I say slightly crazy I mean it in the most loving way possible. Afterall- aren’t we all slightly crazy in our own right? Or is that just me? Anyway- so yesterday Tony jumped out of an airplane with another man strapped to his back.  And yes it was a perfectly good airplane.  He was tandem skydiving with the US Army’s Parachute team the Golden Knights.

Now before you ask, I really do not know anything more about this than is posted on the Golden Knight’s website…so I have no idea if this is something he’s always wanted to do and the opportunity presented itself or if his sponsor was like we are having this event and need you to represent (Ryan Newman was at a different US ARMY appearance at the same time) or what…but yeah he jumped out of a plane:

(ALL picture credits are SSG Joe Abeln and SFC Eric Heinsheimer from the Golden Knights Parachute Team):

Tony Stewart and SSG Jones before the jump. The release on their website says he was a little nervous. Um I would be more worried if he weren't nervous because he's jumping out of a freakin' airplane.

Tony Stewart and SSG Jones clear the aircraft. There is no going back now!

Tony and SSG Jones land perfectly on their collective feet.

The post on the Golden Knight website said that Tony enjoyed it and claimed he would do it again.

Would I? Oh hell-freaking-NO!!  I have this incredible fear of heights.  It rears it’s head at strange points.  For instance- I can go to Las Vegas and go to the observation decks (both indoor and outdoor) on the Stratosphere with NO PROBLEM. I have done that several times.  One day on a lark, Misty and I decided that I could probably handle the Eiffel Tower at the Paris! Casino…which is actually much lower.  On the way up I start to get that PANIC PANIC PANIC DANGER WILL ROBINSON DANGER feeling where all I wanna do is sit down and go back to ground level and unfortunately for us there was nothing I could do cuz we were sandwiched in that elevator like sardines.  Misty’s seen me do the freak out before so she was just talking quietly and joking with me and trying to distract me…but one guy noticed I was in panic mode and basically made a point of pointing out to the entire elevator (and it was packed so full that you couldn’t have fit another person in if you had wanted to) that I was freaking out. Nice. Nothing like drawing attention to someone freaking out (because I was truly doing it quietly in the corner). That’s really going to make them feel better. Seriously. So yeah…long story short I bolted out of the elevator for fresh air and then just as quickly bolted back in to get the heck DOWN.  The Ferris Wheel at Disney’s California Adventure? Yeah I thought I could handle it too…until we got to the top and I burst into tears (and at the time I was with Misty and her little brother and I was trying to hold it together because I didn’t want to freak him out)- that thing is a lot taller than it looks.  Yet there were parts of the tour of the Queen Mary in Long Beach that they say can freak people out if you are afraid of heights…and I didn’t have an issue there at all.

So yeah just getting me to fly is a feat.  I have done it and will prob do it again in the future but I really don’t like to do it- especially alone. If I have a window seat? I have to close that little window shade.  Take off and landings are the worst part because I guess I pretty much figure that once you are up in the air you are SOL if something happens anyway- and it doesn’t help that they stuff people into the planes so freaking tight.  If I were in that plane and they were expecting me to JUMP OUT OF IT?- I would most likely be sitting on the floor (when I get that lovely feeling of panic my first instinct is to sit down as low as possible) with my arms and legs securely wrapped around a seat or anything. And probably crying.  And saying things like GET ME DOWN!!!!!!NOWWWWWW!!!!!! LAND THIS THING!!!!

So I have to give great kudos to anyone who would willingly jump out of a plane.  If you are going to tandem jump with someone the ARMY would be who you would want to go with I am sure they know what they are doing!  There is this little airfield by were I work where they have skydiving (ironically it use to be an army airfield).  So it’s not uncommon on nice days to be driving home from work and see four to eight people drifting down towards the airport with their parachutes…and for a split second I think it looks fun and peaceful. Then my brain tells me “yeah…but you would probably die of a heart attack/panic attack/fright before they got you to the door of the plane so probably not for you.” In this case, it’s probably best that I listen to myself.  So if this opportunity ever comes knocking on my door? I will hiding under my bed until it goes away to knock on some other person’s door.

The Tom Petty song "Free Falling" comes to mind here...

Edited to add Tony’s jump video (with sound! YEY) Courtesy of GoArmy’s Youtube Channel:

I have never been to a dirt track race in person.  Now if you tell my dad that he will probably argue with you that he use to take me to the track in Watsonville all the time when I was a kid.  That is where I would have to tell you he is wrong.  He use to take my brother. He NEVER took me…which never made any sense to me as a kid because I LIKED racing even then and my brother as far as I could tell my brother couldn’t give a lick one way or the other about it.   I think it was more about the male bonding…which they did plenty of between the races and the hunting and the fishing (ok…sometimes I got to go fishing too).  The first race he ever took me to was an CART race (yeah this was before the league was split into IRL and CHAMP or whatever it was called) at Laguna Seca (now Mazda Raceway) and I remember it vividly because he surprised me with the tickets…and I was in high school- because I remember asking him who he was taking on Friday and he told me I could cut school that day.  He bought us paddock passes and I had a total blast that whole weekend…being up close to drivers like Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, Danny Sullivan, Scott Pruett, it was really cool.  But I digress.

I got to rambling when really I wanted to tell you THE PRELUDE TO THE DREAM is just around the corner.  If you have been here any length of time you know that I start to get really excited this time of year over a pay-per-view dirt race (well it’s pay per view for me…but if you are in a position to go you should totally go- at last I heard tickets were still available- check out Prelude To The Dream website for more details).

This year the beneficiaries of the race will be four children’s hospitals (Levine Children’s Hospital, St. Jude’s Research Hospital, Riley’s Hospital for Children and Cinncinati Children’s Hospital).  Also different this year is the way the money will be distributed.  Each driver will be part of a team and racing not just for himself but for the team.  Highest team score gets the most of the prize money. The winner of the race get’s bragging rights of course.

I have been ordering the Prelude for at least three years now and am never disappointed. It’s great dirt track fun and really only makes me want to attend the event in person. This year I am excited to see Ricky Carmichael driving for the first time at Eldora (and of course see Tony Stewart- I hope he wins again this year). There is a star-studded line up this year that includes a seat being reserved for the winner of the Indy 500.

The HBO pay-per-view race is usually 24.95. It’s Wednesday June 9th. Check your local pay-per-view listings.  I have never had an issue finding it right in the listings and you do NOT have to have HBO to order the pay-per-view event.

If you want more information you can visit the Prelude to the Dream website or this great article on the Prelude from NASCAR.com. (fixed link- whoops…)