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Wow, what a weekend for Stewart-Haas Racing.   I admit I was quite pleased when Ryan and Tony qualified 1-2 (although that little teeny competitive person inside me was chagrined that it wasn’t the other way around).  Tony isn’t always the best qualifier- so when he qualifies top 10 I get pretty happy. When he qualifies top 5 I get damn happy. When he qualifies top 2? I do a jig. Ok not really- but I was ecstatic and hopeful for his run on Sunday.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, poses with his team and Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, and his team on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America)

It appears I had every reason to be hopeful.  EVERY REASON.  I settled in for the race with my cell phone and my note pad close.  I started off on the TNT national broadcast- only for the pre-race. Once the command was given to start engines I switched it over to Stewart’s DirecTV HotPass channel where for the second week in a row I just stayed on the HotPass Channel.  I have decided that I like the HotPass because I get the radio communications between Tony, Darian and Bob without draining my battery on my phone and having to relaunch the Sprint ap every time I go to read a text or a tweet- which during the race is quite often.

Anyway- it was quite obvious by the way Tony Stewart moved through the field that he had a car to be reckoned with.  Especially if you consider that during the pre-race show all the drivers interviewed mentioned how hard it would be to pass at Louden.  I don’t remember anyone saying anything different.  Tony seemed to be able to work his way up through the field a couple times and made it look easy.  EASY!  Whoo.

Ryan Newman (R), driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, is congratulated by team owner and second place finisher, Tony Stewart (L), driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

I will readily admit that the competitive side of me came out when Tony was running hard trying to catch Ryan.  I was standing there in front of the TV-hoping Ryan would run out of gas. I know, I should hang my head in shame a little for hoping Ryan would run out of gas, after all that is Tony’s  teammate.  All I can say is that, Tony is my driver and he could be racing my mom out there and I would still be rooting for Tony. It’s just how this fan/driver relationship works.

Tony’s second place finish has moved him into a tie for 10th place with Denny Hamlin.  I can only hope that this 1-2 weekend at New Hampshire signals the start of better luck for Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing.

Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, is congratulated by teammate Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, after Newman won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

Notes on Loudon:

  1. You see that picture up there of Tony congratulating Ryan in the car. The one right above this notes section? You might have to look carefully because it’s small but Tony’s hand is out congratulating Ryan.  I LOVE that picture.  Why? Well, as I mentioned I was watching the race on Tony’s HotPass channel and seeing him celebrate Ryan’s win and his second place from his incar camera was GREAT!  He was UBER excited!!!  Then hearing that one of the first things Tony said when he got out of his car was that he was “so damn proud” that he “couldn’t see straight” made me laugh.
  2. I love listening in on the radio communication. How else would I have known that Tony was mad because the hose that cools his feet wasn’t hooked up and I found that out because he stated over his radio that he in charge of hooking up said hose could drive the car the next time the hose didn’t get hooked up.  So Tony wasn’t hot-headed he was hot-footed.  Ha! I crack myself up.  Not to mention the kind words he had to say about Andy Lally.  LOVE it because that is what is going on right then and there in the car in my driver’s head.
  3. Oh and I am hearing that there is a rumor out there that Carl Edwards may be signing with JGR for next season…I am not sure if JGR is going to a 4 car team or if that means someone is out of one of the JGR cars.  I guess we will find out soon enough.
  4. I still have to say that I would be happier if Ryan and Tony’s finishes were reversed, but still pretty damn happy.
  5. But we really need a win now. Just saying.
  6. Oh and before I forget- Tony mentioned during his post-race press conference that Darian was dealing with pneumonia while on the pit box…I sure hope he’s feeling better soon!

Gratuitous Tony picture:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15, 2011 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Don’t forget next weekend is an off weekend for the Cup cars…they will be back the following weekend at Indy. Go Tony Go!

Lionel NASCAR Collectibles was able to send me some pictures of the actual diecast of the patriotic “Honoring our Heroes” paint scheme that  Tony Stewart will be running at the Richmond Race on September 10th.

If the paint scheme looks anything like the diecast (which I am pretty darn sure it will)- it’s going to be an awesome looking car:

(photo credit: Lionel NASCAR Collectibles)

Tony’s patriotic paint scheme on the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Impala will feature the Stephen Siller Tunners To Tower logo near the rear quarter panel.

(photo credit: Lionel NASCAR Collectibles)

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this diecast will go to the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers foundation.

You can order your diecast here. I already have.

Tony had a run that has been typical of his runs this season.  His run at Kentucky could only be described as okayish.  These “okayish” runs really need to stop and turn into GREAT runs…winning runs.  Okayish runs leads to being only okayish in the points.  But anyway I digress.

Tony started the race 9th because rain washed out qualifying about a third of the way into the qualifying session. On track during the race Tony could be seen anywhere from 26th to 2nd but seemed to spend a majority of the racing hanging out about 14th spot (funny since that is his number).  I seemed to notice that he seemed to do best towards the latter part of the runs and that is typically when he would work his way up further into the field. (more…)

I was crawling the web as I usually do on Friday mornings- looking for what was happening in the world of NASCAR, this being before the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky, when an article by Dustin Long (one of my favorites among the NASCAR media) about what the drivers were talking about caught my eye. I was surprised to find out that a couple of drivers were quoted as being concerned about the lack of SAFER barrier at the speedway in Kentucky.  You can read Dustin’s  whole article yourself, but I have culled out the quotes regarding SAFTER barrier from it for you: (more…)

Almost every time I watch a time-lapse video of a car being wrapped, the Fabulous Thunderbird’s Wrap It Up, I’ll Take It runs through my head and then gets stuck.  It has been stuck there since yesterday when I saw this:

That is Tony’s Kansas car getting wrapped in the special Back-To-School paint scheme* that will adorn the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy this weekend at Kentucky. Here are some stills of the awesome paint scheme too:

Tony Stewart's Back-To-School paint scheme for the #14 (Photo Credit: Edelman)

The TV Panel shows a cool ruler... (Photo Credit: Edelman)

I always remember how I loved shopping for back-to-school supplies when I was a kid (obviously I was one of those geeky studious kids that actually LIKED school).

*Why do they call it paint schemes? Technically shouldn’t they call it wrapped schemes?

So I started Daytona week with a feeling of trepidation after Tony Stewart’s incident with Vickers at Infineon.  The results of the race at Infineon caused a drop in points and I am starting to panic about the points (read about my POINTS PANIC! here) so that finish in Infineon did NOT help at all.  But on Friday I was able to catch a bit of Tony’s Daytona press conference and at least I understood that he was “drawing” his line in the sand.  I have to respect his conviction there…even if I don’t necessarily agree with it.  (POINTS! PANIC AT THE DISCO WE ARE OUT OF THE TOP TEN!) (more…)

You can read Part 1 here.

I am going to admit something right here…Misty and I played hooky from Infineon on Saturday and played tourists in San Fransisco so I really have NOTHING to tell you of Saturday.  Valli has a post about Saturday though if you want to check out what she was doing (plus you can read about how Dale Jr tried to scare her just like Jimmie did to us the day before).

We were up with the chickens on Sunday- grabbed a quick bite in the room and headed right to the track on Sunday morning and it wasn’t even early enough because the race traffic heading into Infineon was in full effect!  I remembered this from the time we came in 2009 and thought we had left in plenty of time- apparently not.  Not that we were late- but we were later than we wanted to be. So we get into the track plop our stuff down in the media center (I LOVE having a place I can ditch my stuff at the race so that I don’t have to carry all my belongings with me everywhere I go) grab both of my cameras and we decide to spend the morning just wandering before the start of the race.  First we wandered over to the driver introduction stage to get some pictures of three greats: Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett and Bobby Allison. I have to admit…Misty got THE best picture of Bobby Allison:

Bobby Allison talks with PRN host before the race at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

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I was gonna try to fit the entire Infineon post into one…but it was just too large and I couldn’t do that to you. I hope you will enjoy part one. Stay tuned for part 2).

After checking into our hotel, Misty and I went to Infineon Raceway Thursday for like 10 minutes- just to pick up our credentials and remind ourselves how to get there because it had been a couple years (2009 to be exact- where the first time we were there we got misguided and ended up in Petaluma).  We returned bright and early Friday morning  got ourselves situated in the media center- grabbed something to drink and headed out to get some pictures before things filled in. We even wandered through the area of concessions behind the grandstands at the Start/Finish line – which was kinda creepy actually since most if not all of them were still closed.  We got a good look at the Infineon Hall of Fame…which honestly should be called the Wall of Fame…but that’s just semantics I guess.

Rick Hendrick, Infineon Hall Of Fame tile (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

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