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April 18th is the race at Texas Motor Speedway – it will be Tony Stewart’s 400th career start in the Sprint Cup series.   There are a couple of Tony Stewart events to keep my ardent Smoke fans occupied during non-race time hours at Texas Motor Speedway!

First off is the Ride of A Lifetime NASCAR Foundation event. You can bid on a chance to ride with Tony Stewart during his parade lap after driver introductions (teammate Ryan Newman is also participating as well as a whole slew of other drivers).  To bid on your chance you have to go to the live auction on April 17th.  Visit Speedway Children’s Charities to find out how you can bid on a chance to ride with Tony (or Ryan).

Also there will be an autograph session with Tony Stewart at the Office Depot in Grapevine, Texas on April 14th.  There will be 700 wristbands given out starting at 8:00 am on the day of the event in a first come first serve method. The event will begin at 4:00 pm and those with wristbands need to be in line no later than 5:00pm. The address of the Office Depot where the event will take place is: 1317 State Highway 114 West, Grapevine, Texas 76051.  Autographs are limited to one per person with wristband. I think that since the autograph session is on the 14th of the month- it’s gonna be a good day.

Hope you all have a great time!

Well I honestly can’t say a whole lot about Martinsville because I didn’t get to see it. It was rain delayed on Sunday and the DVR attempt didn’t work so honestly I have nothing. What really sucks about that is that I enjoy Martinsville- it is one of my favorite tracks to watch.

Apparently it was quite the finish- and while I have heard a couple of accounts of it from different sources they are all slightly different so I can’t really give my opinion on it.  It might have been a good thing for me that I didn’t see the race- I would have probably ended up in a bad mood since Tony didn’t do so well (sounds like he did great for the first 70 laps or so and then the handling on the car went away or changed and he and the Office Depot/Old Spice crew fought to chase it all day. Tony ended up finishing 2 laps down in 26th.  He dropped to 8th in the points standings.  Teammate Ryan Newman however, bagged his first top 5 of the season, finishing 4th at Martinsville. Denny Hamlin won the race. 

Easter weekend is an off week. Then NASCAR heads to another favorite track of mine: Phoenix.

The non-points All-Star Race is right around the corner.  I love the All-Star Race because it’s all about the money and the trophy- and not about the points.  Tony Stewart won last years All-Star Race- the first race win for the newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing team. It was a great victory for the team and set a blistering pace that included four wins and a spot in the Chase for both Stewart-Haas drivers. 

The 2010 All-Star Race is going to throw something a little bit different into the mix- a mandatory full four-tire pit stop.  I think this is great because often times it is the pit crews that can make or break a driver’s luck during the a regular points race so why not include them in the All-Star Race as well.   This is the new format:

  • Segment One: 50 laps with a mandatory green flag pit stop at lap 25. At the end of the fifty laps a yellow caution flag will wave where optional pitstops will be allowed.
  • Segment Two: 20 laps after which a yellow caution flag will wave and optional pitstops will be allowed.
  • Segment Three: 20 laps after which a mandatory ten minute break will be had. Crews will be allowed to adjust on the cars during this break. The finishing order at the end of this segment will determine the line up order for the four-tire stop .
  • Mandatory Four-Tire Stop: Once the field lines back up and takes the yellow flag after the ten minute stop all cars will be required to enter the pits for a mandatory four tire pit stop. The order in which the cars exit the pits will be the line up order for Segment Four.
  • Segment Four: 10 lap shoot out in which all laps must be green flag (yellow flag laps will NOT be counted).

So that adds a little excitment to the All-Star Race. I really really wish Misty and I were attending the All-Star Race (we would actually like to take in the whole week between the All-Star Race and the Coke 600).  One of these days Misty and I will make it to Charlotte.  This year would be a great year for Tony Stewart fans to attend the All-Star Race. Why?   In celebration of his 2009 win Charlotte Motor Speedway is offering a special Smoke Double Down ticket special.  The package is actually a GREAT deal.  For $149.00 you get two tickets on the front stretch grandstand area for the May 22nd 2010 All-Star Race  thus creating a cheering section for Tony and the team!  The ticket package also includes two tickets to a special fan forum lunch with Tony Stewart at CMS on May 3rd as well as two Tony Stewart Souveniors. Plus there is the added benefit that $20.00 of every ticket packet purchased goes to the Tony Stewart Foundation. So really it’s win win. Tony fan’s get a great deal on tickets, a special lunch with Tony and other Tony fans, not to mention the Tony Stewart goodies.  Tony and his Stewart-Haas Racing team win because they get their own cheering section at the race right there on the front stretch- which I am sure provides them with a great boost.  And the Tony Stewart Foundation gets a donation that supports their grants assisting chronically ill children and animal charities as well. So I guess really it’s win-win-win really! For more information on the Smoke Double Down ticket package visit the Charlotte Motor Speedway website or call 1-800-455-FANS

Most NASCAR fans know Tony Stewart and the “Media” seem to have their…shall we say… moments.  Last Friday before Bristol was no exception, if you are curious you can go here to read some of Tony’s media from Bristol.  I missed part of Tony’s media because I was working.  I did watch some of it (ie- the last  half of it) and the part I couldn’t watch I did I pay attention to what the “media” were tweeting during his turn in the media center…practically as soon as he sat down certain media members were shooting off tweets about how Stewart was in a typical mood and it wasn’t fun. Some of the tweets were what I considered downright nasty.  I thought about shooting off a quickie blog- calling out some of these people directly.  I thought twice because I was in a foul mood myself on Friday and whilst I recognized this in myself- it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t myself have bitten the head off the first person to cross me (that wasn’t a customer of course).  As a matter of fact- I did bite someone’s head off on the way home, figuratively of course- on the phone and yes I was hands free so I was legal, and no I won’t give you details but I will tell you that it wasn’t one of my finest moments as a human.  But you know what that is what I am, a human. I would bet my last dollar that Tony Stewart is a human too (ok so I did interview him and didn’t see any plugs or cords so I might be hedging my bet a bit).  I have lived life long enough to know that humans can have bad days and bad moods.  Maybe work didn’t go so great. Maybe they got into an arguement with a loved one. Maybe there is some sort of stressor on them right now. Maybe they just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  In my case- it was a little bit of the work thing mixed with the wrong side of the bed thing with a side of a headache.   My point is humans have bad days and Tony Stewart is, gasp, human.  I mean seriously you wouldn’t think this would be much of a newsflash.  Apparently it is something that “media” doesn’t understand because a day or two AFTER Bristol, the same thing happened to Kevin Harvick.  I didn’t personally Kevin’s media – I think it was relating to the Charlotte test of the new spoilers.  But I did see the articles quickly posted after claiming Harvick must have thought he was Stewart in the media center because he was surly instead of a shiny, happy Harvick.

Like I mentioned earlier- my first reaction when I read the negative tweets was to fire off a blog post calling out certain media members.  I made myself promise to wait because I don’t like to post something and then feel guilty to the point that I want to change it or take it down. I have that luxury of time. It’s my blog. I can choose to hit publish or not.  The drivers are sitting there in the media center and they do not have that.  What comes out of their mouth comes out.  They are human. They are prone to have bad days just like me. Maybe Tony’s head was still on his practice speeds (they WERE kind of low). Maybe Kevin woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  My point is this…they are human- so does the media have to take their human moments and shade it with color commentary? So they weren’t all bubbles and rainbows one day. I bet they (as in the media0 aren’t always bubbles and rainbows either.  Can’t they cut someone having a bad day a break?

I bring this up because I know today there will be an onslaught of media today. I know Tony will probably be there. I don’t remember if Kevin will be.  I just think that some people need to understand that no matter if it is Kevin Harvick or Clint Bowyer or Jimmie Joshnson – they are all human (although now that I think about it? Jimmie might not be) and they too might be having a bad day.  Can’t you cut a guy a break.

Unfortunately almost everyone you talk to either knows some one who has cancer, has cancer themselves or knows someone who died of cancer– it’s something that has touched many lives and not in a good way. My parents have had very two good family friends who have died from cancer and my beloved paternal grandfather died of cancer. That is why I am supporting City of Hope. City of Hope’s main mission is to take cutting edge research and close the gap between that research and effective new treatments for cancer patients.  And if you donate to City of Hope right now your donation will be matched dollar for dollar by the Office Depot Foundation.  It’s their mission to help raise a total of $1 million dollars for City of Hope…you can learn more about Tony Stewart and the Office Depot Foundation’s donation match at cityofhope.org/fightcancer.

(Video provided by Edelman)

I just found this on Facebook so I thought I would pass it on:

Tony Stewart will be doing an autograph session at JD Byrider in Fairfield, Ohio THIS Thursday March 25th from 5:00-7:00. You  must have a wristband for the event. Wristbands will be distributed at the location starting at 11:00 am.  The address is 5515 Dixie Highway.

The facebook invite says to bring your cameras. As always there is one autograph per person! Enjoy!!

I love watching short track racing. Martinsville is probably my favorite track to watch…but Bristol is a close second. There is something about the close quarters.  I had heard on Saturday that there was a good chance of rain on Sunday so I was wondering if they would even be able to start the race- and luckily…they not only were able to start it but they were able to finish it too (although there were two yellow flags because of rain- but the cars never had to leave the track for it).

Tony qualified eleventh which was great considering that he didn’t seem to have the speed during practice.  Tony spent most of the race flirting with and breaking into the top ten, then falling out a bit then (usually after pit stops) back into the top ten.  It really was that last pit stop and the call to take two tires that really put Tony in the position he was in. Unfortunately not only did Jimmie have his supercar (seriously what is under the hood of that car) but he was on four fresh tires and Tony just didn’t have enough to hold him off although he did give it a great effort and was able to maintain a second place finish in the 10 lap shoot out caused by the late race caution. It was Stewart-Haas Racing’s first top five finish of the season.  It moved Tony up to fifth in the points standings 89 points behind points leader Kevin Harvick.  Teammate Ryan Newman finished 16th in the race at Bristol which increase his points standings three positions to 26th. He is 322 points behind points leader Kevin Harvick.  Overall I would over say it was a pretty good day for Stewart Haas racing with both cars moving up in the points.

Notes about Bristol:

  • Did we really think that the Keselowski/Edwards fued would continue at Bristol? Edwards is under probation and did a talking too by sponsor SCOTT. I am not saying it is necessarily over- but it is for now.
  • Did you catch the new Joey Logano version of the coco-cola singing commercial? Instead of it starting off with Tony singing it starts with Joey singing. Sorry I like the Tony one better.
  • Speaking of Tony, Darrell Waltrip said during the prerace (I think it was during the Gas N Go segment) that Stewart-Haas Racing had lost it’s “sparkle” this season because the newness wore off. Um…I think Tony and crew are looking pretty “sparkly” now.
  • I think it would be fun to be a fly on the wall for the Stewart-Haas “competition” meetings. I think it would provide an interesting insight into racing and my favorite team and the kind of work that goes on behind the scenes.  This from the woman who hates going to meeting for her job.

Next Week: My favorite track! Martinsville

Joey “Sliced Bread” Logano isn’t someone I usually blog about.  I am taking the same attitude towards Joey as I am towards Danica (I said it…the D word) and that is very much a “wait and see” attitude because pretty much I decided that you don’t just jump in a stock car and know everything about everything- no matter where you cut your racing teeth.  I do keep tabs on where Joey …just out of habit if nothing else- 10 years following an orange 20 car…I can’t help but occassionally wonder where they are at (although I am now awesome at being able to pick out Tony’s new color – even up against other red cars like Kasey Kahne or Bobby Labonte).  Anyway,  I can’t resist blogging about Joey today.

In case you didn’t know, Joey won his first NASCAR SPRINT CUP pole today.  Exciting right? He SHOULD be excited.  Winning your first pole has got to be a good feeling.

However Joey is not receiving the usual Coors Light Pole award.  Why? Because Joey is only 19 years old.  You might remember me mentioning both last year and this year during the Budweiser Shoot Out position draw that Joey’s crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, would draw Joey’s bottle (the position numbers for the Shoot Out are drawn by picking a bottle of Budweiser containing a flag with the starting number on it).  This was due to the fact that Joey is underage.

So instead of the Coors Light Pole award, Joey gets the 21 Means 21 pole award.  I just find it kind of funny.  I can only imagine that Joey can not WAIT to turn 21 so he can pick his own Bud Shoot Out bottle and that they don’t have to change the name of the pole winner award so he can accept it.

It was also pointed out to me that Mark Martin was going for his 50th pole award (and if I remember correctly there was something about him tying or beating a record from Cale Yarborough too) at Bristol.  And it’s pretty damn ironic that Mark Martin is old enough to be Logano’s father….

Anyway congratulations to Joey and the Home Depot team on their first pole…no matter what they call it.