Header image

(Photo Source: Zimbio.com/Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images North America)

Tony Stewart fans were beyond excited yesterday when the driver announced not just a timeline for his return to his #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro chevy but that he was BACK in his race car effective immediately.  Hours later many of those same fans were outraged that NASCAR turned around and issued Tony Stewart a $35,000 fine for talking about the issue of teams not tightening enough lug nuts during pitstops since NASCAR no longer polices this during a media obligation the day before.  If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you know that I was ramped up yesterday about Tony receiving that $35,000 fine and I still am. I have NEVER thought a fine was such a, pardon my  language, bullshit fine in my life as a NASCAR fan. One of the many many reasons Tony is my driver is that he has never ever shied away from speaking his mind. Yes it’s gotten him into some hot water from time to time. And sometimes he might not say things in the most diplomatic way but he says them because they need to be said.  Sometimes he says things in the heat of the moment but what driver doesn’t. This was not one of those times.

Now if Tony were to have gone out there and lambasted specific people in NASCAR’s hierarchy regarding this issue I might have understood the fine. But from what I heard and read Tony say about the lug nut issue is that he is mad (I believe his actual words were P.O.’d) because he feels no longer monitoring/requiring the amount of lug nuts tightened is going to get someone hurt.  It’s a safety issue.   At least two other drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Greg Biffle, have made similar complaints as has crew chief Rodney Childers. I don’t see them getting fined. NOR SHOULD THEY. It’s a safety issue that needs to be brought to someone’s attention before a driver or a spectator get injured.  Tony talks about it and he gets fined.

NASCAR came out of the box this season stating what exactly the fine scale would be for drivers who spoke poorly of NASCAR or it’s racing product. I was hopeful that this meant the fines would be more transparent and more evenly distributed than ever before. They have failed on this BIG TIME.  Take for instance Kyle Busch.  Several weeks ago Kyle Busch claims NASCAR is fixing races on his team radio because they threw a yellow flag that he felt could have cost him a possible win in the Xfinity Series – clearly a much more inflammatory statement against NASCAR and it’s racing product and yet he doesn’t get fined (he did get fined that weekend but it was for bailing on post race media obligations post race and not for his statement about races being fixed by the sanctioning body).  There has to be consistency and fairness in the penalties and fining Tony Stewart for bring up lug nuts and safety (a conversation that has been going on since late last year at least) is not something that should be something fine worthy.

It seems that the drivers agree, as the Sprint Cup series driver’s council issued a statement late last night that they didn’t think that the fine was fair and they would be helping pay the fine. This tells me that they feel the same way Tony does so they should all feel the fine pain so to speak.  I hope that this speaks volumes to NASCAR. They have a possible safety issue that they need to seriously consider. Fining drivers for talking about a possible safety issue is like fining a baseball player for considering wearing a helmet when he’s up to bat, or fining a bull rider for wearing a flack jacket during his 8 second ride.  It doesn’t make sense because without the athlete- you don’t have the sport. (more…)

(Photo Source: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

Usually when my cellphone vibrates with a text message as I am coming off the elevator at work onto my floor- it’s something work related. Today it’s YEY related. Here is what has been pinging around my head like lugnuts in a pitstall during a green flag pit stop- you just never know where they will end up…except I kind of do- they end up here. Let’s get to it shall we:

1.So I am a little late with the lugnuts- I usually post them on Wednesdays- but to be completely honest it was just because I ran out of time yesterday to track down pictures to put in the post and all that but now we have something else to discuss and it’s probably the most important thing to discuss so I am bumping everything else down a notch! So in case you live in a world without social media Tony Stewart announced today not just the timeline of when he would be back in the #14 but SURPRISE he’s going to be back in the car this weekend.  There are not enough exclamation marks in the world to exclaim how excited I am about this.  So Tony will be racing his first race back at his favorite NASCAR track too- so that can’t hurt right? Tony has always exclaimed his love for Richmond.  Also in case you didn’t know- Tony will then do a tire test at Indy and will start Talladega for the points then hand the car over to Ty Dillon because of the significant increase of crash and injury at Talladega. I can’t tell you how much better this makes me feel about Talladega. Also as expected NASCAR did grant Tony Stewart a waiver for the missed races. So come on Tony let’s go out there and rip off a win and maintain top 30 status…I want to see you in Vegas my man! This definitely made my morning!

2. Here is Tony yesterday on RACEHUB last night- actually yesterday afternoon for me on the west coast…but I dvr’d and watched it this morning well before the announcement and thought to myself- hey self- you should find the video and add it before I publish the post: (more…)

(Photo Source: Zimbio.com/Robert Laberge/Getty Images North America)

Replacement Driver: Ty Dillon

Started: 34th

Finished: 25th

I am surprised that I have seen so much complaining on my social media regarding the quality of the racing at Bristol this weekend. While I will agree with those that say the racing product at the track hasn’t been the same since they redid the track the last time (I have felt this way about the racing at Phoenix as well)- I thought that racing at the track on Sunday was quite good and I was watching it from the national broadcast and not sitting in the stand. I think the track is getting back to being more of it’s old self and I hope that as the track continues to season and the racing packages improve that will cultivate an elevated racing product back to the bumping and grinding that short track NASCAR racing is famous for. (more…)

(Photo source: Stewart-Haas Racing Race Release)

Well it seems that my brain is full of lugnuts this week! Here is what has been pinging around my brain like lugnuts during a green flag pitstop:

1. I find it interesting that Kyle Busch’s recent back-to-back sweeps has sparked a lot of interest but not in the way you would think. Instead of everyone being a buzz about what a monumental accomplishment back-to-back weekend sweeps (even haters have to be impressed) are,  most of the buzz I am hearing is from NASCAR fans who don’t think that the cup drivers should be able to drive in any of the feeder series but instead should be relegated to just driving the premiere cup series.  If this is the case (and I don’t believe this should be the case AT ALL just to make that clear) then by following that same logic new drivers should not drive in the cup series until they have a full time cup ride. See? Cup drivers driving in the series not just give the up-and-coming racers different driving levels and styles to drive with and around (the thought here being is that they can learn from the cup series regulars) but there is the bigger draw to having the cup drivers participate in races in the “lesser” series  and that is that you are drawing fans to seats that might not have otherwise been filled.  I honestly don’t see a problem with it. It’s not like the cup drivers can run for the lesser series championships anymore so I don’t really see why it’s a big deal- they should be able to run if they have the ride and sponsorship to do so.  I know that when Tony occasionally would run what is now the Xfinity series I would be more apt to tune in and pay attention then not.

(more…)

(Photo Source: Zimbio.com/Sean Gardner/Getty Images North America)

Replacement Driver: Brian Vickers

Started: 13th

Finished: 37th

Texas was just not kind to Brian Vickers and team 14 on Saturday night.  It’s unfortunate because I know several of my Facebook friends were there to support the team and endured damp  conditions for a portion of the day. I know they had fun despite but I hate it for them and I hate it for Team 14 because that team has been working it’s guts out on getting that car better and it seems to be working for the most part.  (more…)

(photo source: Tony Stewart Foundation)

If you read BadGroove, follow me on social media, know me in real life, or just happened to have followed me down a freeway or on my way to work there is no doubt in your mind that I am a Tony Stewart fan through and through. I wear it on my person, in my office, and on my car.

This very blog is a testament to my fandom for Tony Stewart. Since I have been blogging about Tony and NASCAR, I have attempted several times to sit down and do a post to explain how and why I am a Tony Stewart fan and I always seem to just stare at the blank post and not get very far because it’s not just ONE thing about Tony that drew me to him initially or continues to draw me to him today. And that is why I ADORE that the Tony Stewart Foundation is using a new marketing reach this year encompassing everything that is Tony Stewart.  The foundation debuted a brand new website that was revealed last month and is using the hashtag #WholeySmoke to showcase all sides of Tony in their website  content; Tony the fiery, tenacious, and passionate racer, Tony the business owner (he owns something like 12 different companies- did you know that?), Tony the car owner, and the side that gets left out of the media more often than not Tony Stewart the philanthropist.  To quote the photo I snagged from the Tony Stewart Foundation the new website highlights “All Things Tony Stewart.”

What is the Tony Stewart Foundation? (more…)

(Photo Source: Zimbio.com/Sarah Crabill/Getty Images North America)

Replacement Driver: Brian Vickers

Started: 3rd

Finished: 7th

Martinsville has always been a favorite track of mine to watch. I think I just enjoy watching the close quarters short track, rubbin’ is racin’ kind of racing because it transfers very well to a television product more so than the longer 1.5 mile midsize tracks (in most cases). Of course that’s not to say that I don’t watch the 1.5 milers, or the super speedways. If there is a Sprint Cup race it’s on I tend to be watching it (obviously or how would I write about it). Of course one of the bad thing about short tracks is that it’s quite easy to get a lap down yet not quite so easy to get that lap back- just ask Dale Jr who spent a majority of the race a lap down after trouble early in the race- but I digress because this is not a Jr. blog now is it?

What a great race Brian Vickers and Team 14 had at Martinsville in the Janssen Arnie’s Army Chevy this weekend. All practices were awesome and Brian was able to qualify the 14 car 3rd! It was an awesome effort all around. (more…)

(Share with us why Tony Stewart is your driver- be part of Project: Smoke In My Eyes today!– Amy) 

The side of Tony that I relate to most and admire most is the man himself, away from the track.  Its in the way he looks at a child, they way he stoops down to be at their level when he talks to them.  Its the pure love that I see as both of their hearts melt into one touching moment in time.  Its the Tony who loves and relates animals.  Its the Tony who always jumps into to help another at the drop of a hat, never asking what is in it for him.

(photo credit: Tony Stewart Foundation)

NASCAR has given him a platform and a voice that has enabled him to reach out through the Tony Stewart Foundation to really support those who need it most.

The passion that he puts into Eldora Speedway is awe-inspiring.  To see him out prepping the track late at night shows his dedication to the racers and the fans to make sure they get the best experience possible.

To see Tony dressed for Halloween with a bowl of fruit atop is head, in a dress, is priceless and shows his amazing sense of humor.  And, I will never forget him snuggling with a pig in a blanket!  Pork chop cannot be the softest thing I can think of to snuggle with, though he is rather handsome.

Tony makes me laugh when I least expect it.  He is an inspiration and just an amazing regular guy, who also happens to be an amazing racer with one great big heart.

These are just a few glimpses of the Tony that I admire the most.  I cannot wait to see what he is up to next.

—- Melinda Foster (@fostmel830), East Bend, NC

______________________________
If you want to take part in Project: Smoke In My Eyes there is still time! Click on the link for more information and submit your piece today!