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I am stealing some wifi signal here in Las Vegas to tell you that today we had our interview with Tony Stewart- which was totally awesome. I will be bringing that post to you some time next week so please keep your eyes open for that.

Tomorrow we are going to be spending a majority of the day to the track! So see you next week.

The Office Depot Foundation has awarded Tony Stewart and his mother Pam Boas with the organization’s “Listen Learn Care” award. It is the Office Depot Foundation’s highest honor. This award honors people who have been exceptionally creative and innovative in following their dreams and in helping others to realize their goals and aspirations.

Tony Stewart  and Pam Boas have worked with the Office Depot Foundation’s National Backpack Program which provides backpacks filled with school supplies to children in need.  Last summer Stewart helped the National Backpack Program donate it’s 2 millionth backpack during several appearances where he personally presented students with the backpacks.  Stewart’s mother also helped distribute over 5,000 backpacks to groups supported by the Tony Stewart Foundation, for which his mother is a board member.  They are awarded this honor not just because of their work with the National Backpack program but also because of all of the charitable work done through the Tony Stewart Foundation.

It’s a great honor to receive the Office Depot Foundation’s “Listen Learn Care Award” especially alongside my mom,” Stewart said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish my dream of driving race cars for a living, and my mom always supported me in that goal. It means a lot to both of us to be able to give back and help others, especially kids, as they work hard toward achieving their dreams, too.”

For more information on the National Backpack Program visit The Office Depot Foundation. You can also visit the Tony Stewart Foundation website for more information on the foundation and the charities they work with.

I have to say that I worried that we wouldn’t get the entire race in Fontana in.  While I live in California- (granted I live much much  farther north than Fontana)  it rained on and off  all day.  So YEY that the race didn’t seem to be too affected by the rain. 

Tony qualified 16th for the race today and early on he struggled- sometimes finding himself as low as 24th position.  However, during the last half of the race, the team seemed to recover some of the handling that Tony was looking for and he was trekking off towards the front of the field- at one time he was as high as 5th.  Unfortunately for Tony he seemed to fall off a bit towards the end of the race.

I will admit right here that I missed somethings during the race because I kept having to run out to do laundry so that I get it all done before I leave for Vegas on Wednesday. I missed Juan Pablo Montoya’s engine blowing. I also missed Ryan Newman’s engine blowing and only knew about that thanks to Twitter when I peeked in at my account.  I admit when they were talking about Jeff Gordon also having possible engine issues I worried that Tony too would fall pray to the mysterious engine gremlins that seemed to be plaguing some of the Team Chevy drivers. Luckily that was not the case though and he was able to finsih 9th at Autoclub Speedway.  He now has a total of 235 points and raising his standings in the points to 17th.  Unfortantely teammate Ryan Newman’s engine failure caused him to finish 36th in the race which dropped him two places in the standings to 36th.

Race winner Jimmie Johnson (Jimmie also won the only race I have seen in person at Autoclub! My thoughts are you don’t want Jimmie in the lead at Autoclub because he is going to be hard to get around!) beat out second place Kevin Harvick in an exciting duel. The two actually ended up racing each other a lot both at the beginning of the race and then again at the end- giving fans an exciting finish to the day. 

Notes about Race 2:

  • I have to say I really REALLY liked Dale Jr.’s orange AMP JUICE paint scheme. REALLY!
  • Speaking of Dale Jr. – I have to send out my congratulations to Andy (prize pack 1) and Lindi (prize pack 2) who won the Dale Jr. Prize packages we gave away (thanks also to AMP and Conye PR who provided the prize packs).
  • What was with all the speeding penalties this race? I guess it was even worse in the Nationwide race.
  • I am looking forward to Vegas…be sure to stay tuned to my twitter updates to see what Misty and I are up to while in Vegas.

Ok I am in the need of some serious help people.  So I have been presented with the incredible opportunity to, while in Las Vegas next week for the race and surrounding related festivities, to ask Tony Stewart some questions.  I guess you could even call it a brief interview…although I don’t like to call it an interview because that makes me nervous (or more nervous).

Upon the suggestion of Misty’s coworker (Hi Ryan!)- I thought I would throw this out there to you all. What would YOU ask Tony Stewart?! Seriously, I need some good questions. I guess you could even call this a contest of sorts- although I don’t really have a prize for this one…except that Tony might actually answer your question.  That would be a pretty good prize don’t you think?? Anyway…the comments are open for your questions for Tony and suggestions for me (or you can email them to me using the link on the right if you prefer, DM me on Twitter, message me on Facebook, send a carrier pigeon or a message in a bottle or paper airplane- whatever- as long as I get it by next Tuesday night).

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Exciting news! If your question is picked we have an actual prize for you now!! If we pick your question there is now an Office Depot Racing Standee in it for you as well as having your question answered by Tony (courtesy of Edelman!) So send in your questions now!

Attention Las Vegas Stewart Fans- Tony Stewart will be making two appearances that fans can attend.  One is Thursday February 25th at the Office Depot located at 1435 West Craig Road in North Las Vegas.  Tony will be at Office Depot from 4-6pm signing autographs for 700 fans.  Wristbands are required and will be distributed starting at 8:00 am at the above location. 

The second appearance is at Lagasse’s Stadium located at the Palazzo on the strip. This appearance is on Saturday starting at 5:00pm and includes a highlight reel, dinner and premium seating.  Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman is also scheduled to be at this appearance.  For more information visit the Palazzo’s website.

Daytona Beach, FL - Feb 9, 2010: Tony Stewart autographs a young fans hat at an appearance at the local Office Depot. (Photo Provided By: Edelman)

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I occasionally go through my site hits (usually when I am bored on the weekend) because I am curious as to how people landed here at my little corner of the web.  I have been getting a lot of hits lately on people looking for driver appearance schedules.  Well let me give you what I have found out about the best ways to find driver appearances. 

GOOGLE! - Google works wonders- I love google! I use google extensively- it’s the official search engine for me. I find it easy to use.

Jayski’s Driver Appearance Page- usually fairly accurate and updated often!

Driver’s websites, facebook pages and twitter feeds- obviously some drivers websites are better at this than others…(as well as their facebook and twitters)…but it can be a great source of appearance schedules as well as finding out if a show car will be coming your way.

Local (to the track) news papers-  that’s how I found out about Tony’s appearance at the Sports Book at the Palazzo during the 2009 season.

Get to the track early and walk the merch haulers…lots of drivers do signings at their merch haulers or might appear at places like THE SPEED STAGE or their manufacturer’s booth (TEAM CHEVY had a huge booth in PHX both times we were there). These places will often post schedules of appearances outside their hauler the day or two before the appearance.

It’s not uncommon to have to stand in line earlier in the day or week to get wristbands, handstamps or tickets for the event so be sure to be on the look out for that kind of information because most of the time- when the wristbands are gone that means you are out of luck.  After all drivers can only sign so many autographs at a time, plus remember most have huge time commitment constraints on their schedules.  Also remember most drivers will only have time to sign one item or hero card if you don’t have an item with you- again this is for time constraints.  You should definitely try to meet your favorite driver though if you have the opportunity. It’s part of the race experience.

I have ALWAYS loved cars.  As far back as I can remember anyway.  My mom tells the story that she didn’t realize how observant I was when I was little until my parents and I were walking through a parking lot when I was about three and a half or so. I looked at a pickup truck- pointed at it and proclaimed “That truck has wheels like SweetiePie’s truck.” (Sweetie Pie was my pet name for my paternal grandfather). My dad looked at the truck and told my mom “She’s right!”  I have distinct memories of laying on the floor when my brother and I were little and playing with his massive collection of matchbox cars.  I always wanted to play with the black corvette but often was stuck with the black A-Team van instead as the cars were his and the corvette was the most coveted car in his collection.  When I hit junior high there were more posters of cars in my room then there were of people.

I bought my beloved 2008 Chevy HHR (which happens to be in the shop today getting it’s 30,000 mile service) because my RAV4 decided suddenly that it wouldn’t start when it was semi-warm 3 out of every 5 times. Long involved story made short: I took the RAV in several times to the tune of a combined $1000+ and they still could not seem to find the ghost in the machine that would cause it to not start.  I travel a lot by car and needed something more reliable. While having all the problems with the RAV, I rented a car for a trip to LA and ended up with an HHR because they were out of compacts which I requested in my rental reservation.  I loved the rental HHR and and by the end of that year I was the owner a shiny new HHR.  Then the new Chevy Camaro comes out about a year later.

I tell myself I couldn’t wait that long- I needed a more reliable vehicle, that wasn’t so high mileage (the Rav was 8 years old and had 196K on her when I turned her in as a trade in). Don’t think for a second, however,  it doesn’t kill me that the Chevy Camaro came out so soon after buying my HHR…because that Camaro is one SWEETcar.  If it was feasible for me? I would totally trade in my HHR – that I am totally satisfied with and love dearly- in a second flat for a new Camaro. I wish I could do an even trade kind of thing; somehow though I think Chevy and my finance company would tell me no. 

Last season you probably remember me going on and on about wanting to win the bright beautiful victory red Camaro that the Tony Stewart Foundation was raffling off.  I mentioned it several times last year so I know that if you have been a reader for awhile you must have heard me waxing on and on about the car.  I never entered that raffle…for various reasons (furloughs being one of the major ones). 

Well guess what? All is not lost because The Tony Stewart Foundation is raffling off another Camaro from Smoke! And believe it or not? This Camaro is even better than the one given out last season.  Why? It’s not just a beautiful car white car with a black racing stripe. This car has also been customized by Will Castro of Unique Autosports.  If you are saying Huh? What? Who? Will Castro does customizations of lots of cars for athletes and celebrities and had a show called Unique Whips on TV for awhile (think kind of along the lines of Pimp My Ride).  Will Castro and Unique Autosports actually did the customizations on Tony’s orange Lamborghini and his hearse (The Smoke Deville).  This year the Camaro the winner gets will be featured on Will Castro’s new show Unique Autosports Miami (show premieres on SpikeTV Feb 28th).

How cool would it be to not only win a sweet Camaro- but to win won customized by Will and the crew at Unique Autosports? Not to mention that the winner gets an expenses paid trip to the Stewart-Haas Racing shop in North Carolina, and a personal meet n greet with Tony Stewart as he hands you the keys and title to the car.  Raffle tickets are $50.00 each and there are 70 early bird prizes to be given away throughout the course of the raffle (early bird raffles will be March 15th,  April 12th, May 10th, June 14th) with the final drawing for the grand prize of the Camaro on July 26th.  Only 10,000 tickets will be sold for this raffle and proceeds will benefit The Tony Stewart Foundation’s many initiatives supporting care for critically ill children, drivers injured in motorsports activities as well as supporting organizations committed to the care and protection of various animal species.  If you are interested in the raffle go to SmokesCamaro.com now for information on the raffle and to buy a ticket.

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Also if you are interested, Tony Stewart and Old Spice have teamed up again this year to present an unique auction again benefiting the Tony Stewart Foundation.  After every victory- Tony will autograph his Old Spice towel and then auction it off with 100 % of the proceeds going to the Tony Stewart Foundation.  Fans have their first opportunity to bid NOW! Tony won the Nationwide season opener at Daytona on Saturday. The  towel is already on the auction block so get in on the action at this ebay auction if you are interested in owning a little piece of Tony’s third straight victory in the Nationwide Opening race (this year called the DRIVE4COPD 300) .  The auction ends the morning of February 22nd- so get your bids in today for this piece of unique memorabilia.

Ok- so my birthday was January 14th- but the best present I got was when my BFF came up the weekend after the 14th to visit me for my birthday. We did a lot of fun stuff and had a blast…but I HAVE to share the funny she inadvertently made.  We were driving to Monterey and she was telling me about how she went to Office Depot…”Yeah so I saw in the paper that Office Depot had a printer on sale and friend- it was a smokin’ deal!!!”  She didn’t mean to throw the Tony Stewart reference in there- but how funny is that?? That cracked me up – and what made me think about it was my trip to Office Depot on Saturday- I needed some post-it notes (and guess what? I ended up leaving with post-its, envelopes, and these really rocking Precise V5 Pilot Pens in Purple and Pink- they rock).  Plus I wanted to get a scratch card for the contest Office Depot is holding. It’s called the Smokin’ Hot Instant Win Game and you get a scratch card with any purchase.  You could win $100 dollar office depot gift cards, exclusive Tony Stewart posters, or be the lucky grand prize winner and win a 2 day Driving Experience with Tony Stewart at the SMOKE SHOW, A VIP Experience for 2 at the Coca-Cola 600 and $1400 Office Depot Gift Card.  Heck I would have been thrilled just to win the poster…but alas- I didn’t win anything on my scratcher. Maybe you will be luckier than I!  The scratcher game runs through March 8th so get yours today. Check out the Office Depot Racing site for more details about the contest.

Also-if you are looking for a behind the scenes look at the new Coca-Cola driver commercial look no further…

Enjoy…

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!)