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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.

I have three major shopping vices: Book stores, office supply stores (so yey for Tony being the Office Depot driver now because I frequent Office Depot much more than I ever did Home Depot) and Dooney purses. I love to read. I have always loved to read. I love the feel of books in my hand and the smell of the paper and glue. No matter where I am I have a book with me…often tucked into my previously mentioned Dooney.  You will not find me with one of those digital book reader thingies until they stop making real paper books. Much like my tastes in music my tastes in books are fairly various and wide (for instance the second to last book I read was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies- told you I have odd tastes). Anyway several years ago I decided to combine two of my loves and started a collection of books about NASCAR. I started out with a couple of coffee table type books…and slowly expanded my collection.  My newest book in that collection just happens to be the last book that I finished- a book I wanted to tell you about.

The Weekend Starts on Wednesday: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans by Andrew Giangola is just what you would expect it be from the title and much more. I admit that when I read the testimonials on the jacket I was a little leary.  Specifically Janet Evanovich’s “I laughed, I cried, I wanted to jump in my car and drive really fast.” Um okay…that seemed a little cliche to me but whatever. It didn’t stop me from reading the book and it is now one of my favorite books on my NASCAR shelf.  The book really is an honest to goodness salute to the people who help make the sport go round (get it? I made a joke!) and round (and another one- I am on it tonight)- The FANS.

This book weaves part of the beautiful quilt that is NASCAR fandom.  The book is divided into several sections including sections for: Lifetime NASCAR fans (aptly titled Fans for Life), Dale Earnhardt Sr Fans (Remembering Dale),  Fans of the sport who are famous in their own right (Famous Faces including Tom Cruise and Mario Batali to name a few), Fans who are “well known” in the NASCAR community (Flirting with Fame), Female fans (Ladies Loving NASCAR) and other sections I just can’t remember off the top of my head.  The author strives very hard to make sure that NASCAR fans are NOT perceived as stereotypes. This book shows that fans of one of the greatest sports out there, come from all walks of life and backgrounds, and come together over the love of speed and personality and community.  This book sheds light on the community aspect of the sport and not the driver / personality aspect with the point being there is no stereotypical NASCAR fan.

I loved reading this book- and I must say I did laugh (the Tire guy? He cracked me up), and I did cry (Lucky Penny Girl- if it doesn’t make you cry you are a robot I tell you), and well I always seem to want to drive fast anyway so I guess the Janet Evanovich testimonial wasn’t so cliche after all.  I also have a new respect for news anchor Brian Williams and will be keeping my eye open for his 3 stickers on the rental fleet of America.  Author Giangola has quite the knack for adding in just enough flavor to set the scene without peppering the stew too much (which in my opinion can bring about the “stereotypical” NASCAR fan).  Of course it doesn’t hurt that my favorite two drivers wrote the foreword (TONY) and the afterword (KYLE). Both prove that despite their hard driving ways they too not only appreciate NASCAR fans, but are both articulate as well (despite what Tony says).

I recommend this book to not just the ardent NASCAR fan but to the on-the-fence line fan, the sometimes fan, and the curious onlooker.  You may just see yourself mirrored in the stories presented in this book or see the neighbor down the street, the news anchor on your nightly news, or the quiet tech support girl in the office upstairs.  This book makes me proud to be a NASCAR fan…(not that I needed much encouragement there).

Towards the end of the chase there was a lot of talk about the points system…and how someone who ended the regular season in first place suddenly finds himself dethroned at the beginning of the chase because of the reset/bonus points structure;  how people LOCK into their positions sometimes far too early in the chase.  I know Tony himself said that he didn’t care about the old system, they all know the points system going INTO the season- they have been doing it for five years now and he didn’t want to talk about the old system anymore.  But I do…wanna talk about the chase points (I know beating a dead horse but I just can’t help myself…).

Between the race chase race in Phoenix and this very point I have seen my best friend, who is also a NASCAR fan three times in person (we live 500 miles from each other) and we both keep bringing this up.  The chase would have been closer points wise (and more exciting says me) had we be using the old system. Jimmie would have still one his fourth championship in a row mind you, but the points spread would have been much much tighter (thanks to the NASCAR INSIDERS for providing us with this information).

My friend is a math ninja when it comes to doing math computations in her head (me not so much).  And after discussing in depth the mechanics behind the math of the points system and the reset/bonus system…we have come up with the following idea for a points system (I wish I could take credit for coming up with this but the math ninja came up with it- but it sounds really good to me):

Keep the same points structure- (same number of points available per race) but at the reset point (the beginning of the chase) Do NOT zero every one out.  Instead let them keep their points but add  10000 points to their points totals to make the chase field distinguishable from the rest of the field.  Remove bonus points for wins….or at the very least significantly lower it to one bonus point per win (I say nix bonus points all together- math ninja says lower to 1 point per win).  We think the chase would be far closer points wise- and less of a runaway.  That right there makes it more exciting.  This system doesn’t just reward winning but rewards consistency of finish as well.  Just an idea…

As a matter of fact- that is what I will do for the chase this year…I will keep track of Our Chase System- to see the difference between where the current system stats end up…and were Our Chase Points end up.  It will be interesting to see.  You all haven’t heard the end of this idea…