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Yesterday was the second race of the NASCAR chase. I was in Vegas for the Truck races and on Sunday I ended up missing the first 22 laps of the race at Dover for reasons I will actually cover in a post tomorrow.  I was traveling during practice and qualifying- but my friend kept me up to date. Tony didn’t have the best qualifying run- and earned a 22nd starting position.

So there I am sitting at the house of my friend watching the race and then the lap 31 crash happened.  Wow.  Watching Logano flip ten times was scary. That was one of the more frightening wrecks I have seen in quite awhile. I have to say that I watched it live, watched all the replays and rewatched it again on Tony Stewart’s hot pass channel after I got home and I do NOT see it as being Tony’s fault. Bobby Labonte slid down in front of Logano who slightly tagged him and slowed up. Tony hit Logano and someone hit Tony. It was one of those chain reaction things that happen.  You know one of “them racin’ things.” Since Tony was the inrace reporter for the national broadcast we could hear him say that he was sorry that he just drove through Logano. What you don’t hear or see on the national broadcast that you did with hotpass was Tony sitting in his car under the red flag.  He sat there occasionally shaking his head like he felt REALLY BAD about the whole deal.  I am just glad that Joey walked away unscathed.

After the cars get rolling again after the red flag I see that Tony has front and rear damage, and am sure that has ruined his race.  However, the pit crew quickly patch his front and rear damage without Tony losing too many positions or going a lap down. Tony’s crew seemed to be able to get him in and out of the pits fairly quickly, and tony was able to gain some track positions. What I didn’t get was the call to bring Tony in during that last pitstop. I just don’t understand it. I think he may have finished better if he hadn’t come in…but what do I know.

Tony ended up finishing 9th and gaining one position in the points- moving up to fifth in the points standings, 106 points behind leader Mark Martin. Stewart-Haas racing team mate Ryan Newman finished tenth and retained his seventh position in the standings.

  • I am going to go out and stand on a really unpopular limb here and say this: Can we stop assuming that Mark Martin has the championship in the bag? The race announcers seem to assume that he is the winner. We are only 2 races into the chase.  A lot can happen. I realize he is the sentimental favorite of many (including my father), but there is a lot of racing left in the season (to paraphrase Mark Martin himself).
  • Also- can we please STOP hearing how old Mark Martin is and comparing him to Harry Gant in age of accomplishment factoids? I seriously do NOT understand why it’s even relevent.
  • Yes I heard Tony snapped at a journalist in the media room at Dover. Think about it people….these are the playoffs. I am sure a lot of the Chase drivers have other things they would rather be doing, like talking to their crews about their car, than doing media.  Especially when people ask the same questions over and over. I think we should start a list of questions media should NOT ask Tony right now or risk feeling the wrath of Tony. The top of that list? Danica. YOu wanna know more about Danica and if she is considering running a part time schedule in NASCAR still? Ask Danica not Tony.
  • Also- can we just have Tony win a race? Please.

This coming weekend we are at Kansas for Chase Race Three.

COMING UP SOON ON BADGROOVE: My first Camping World Truck Series Race and Why The NASCAR CAFE Can Suck It.

Tomorrow morning- I am getting up extremely early and driving 500 miles. Yes…I am going to Vegas again.  I am going to watch the Camping World Truck Series race at the track and have some fun with my BFF.  I will be sitting in my wicked cool Richard Petty Terrace seats because our Cup race ticket came with tickets to the truck series race too.  Might as well go- since Friday is a furlough day and I don’t have to worry about a hotel or anything. I am there.

While I am gone enjoying the trucks (don’t worry I will still watch the cup race at DOVER) I wanted to point you all in the direction of The Fast and The Fabulous. This is one of my favorite NASCAR blogs…if you haven’t been there ever or in awhile be sure to peruse. But also wanted to point out that Valli has the coolest contests ever. Right now she is giving away three $14.00 burger king gift cards. All you have to do is tell her in 14 words or less why you like Tony Stewart.  So you might want to give that a shot for some free burger king! And then keep visiting her.  I love her posts- and like I said she always has the coolest contests.

If pimping out your love of Tony Stewart for free burger king isn’t your thing but you still love NASCAR? Try visiting The Nascar Insiders. This site is by far one of my very favorite NASCAR blogs out there. My favorite feature is Ask the Insiders Wednesdays…where they will answer your toughest NASCAR questions.  I have learned so much just by reading this site and asking questions…I have never NOT had any of my questions answered. So check them out too!!!

So let me ask you…what are your favorite NASCAR websites and blogs?

Other than that…I will be away from the keys. I will probably occasionally tweet…and have even (hopefully) set it up so that you can see some of my sucky cameraphone pictures in tweets while I am gone! So check me out at twitter while I am gone (@badgroove)…and come back on Tuesday or Wednesday ok?

I honestly do NOT know how the drivers and crews deal with the stress of the chase….because it usually has ME stressed out and I really have NOTHING to do with the outcome…more than just cheering my heart out for Tony (and cursing like a sailor when things like axle caps are loose or broken). Before the chase started mostly I was concerned with my fantasy league drivers and where they were finishing.  I messed around with a couple different fantasy leagues last year- you know the “free” ones online- but really didn’t like them. I found they were too high maintenance (especially the ones where you could only pick certain drivers on certain weeks).  I was invited to participate in a more private league and this season I have been having a ball.  I had even been in the top ten at one point.  But the season wore on and I dropped further and further down…in the standings (although half my fantasy team is in the chase).  Mostly I was trying to keep track of where the “Davids” were finishing (meaning Reutimann and Ragan).  Unfortunately my fantasy team is taking especially hard lately (my drivers are: Stewart, Gordon, Montoya, Labonte/Darnell and the “Davids”).  I blame David Ragan. But clearly I am digressing.

During last weekend’s race that completely changed.  Instead of even caring about my fantasy league,  now I am trying to keep track of where all 12 chase contenders are in relation to Tony, as well as who has led a lap, who hasn’t led a lap, that kind of thing.  I might have even got a little vicious towards Ryan Newman’s position compared to Tony, I admit.  He might be the teammate of my driver- but during the championship- they are all enemies. I want MY driver to be the Champion.  Not my driver’s teammate.  It’s all about loyalties.

So anyway here I am trying to keep points somewhat in my head- and I will be completely honest with you right here and tell you I am not the quickest when it comes to doing math in my head- when my mom comes in and starts feeding me football scores. Then my brain exploded right there in the middle the living room. I was just trying of figure out where Tony was in the points…and my brain exploded.  I had forgotten football season started along WITH the Chase.  I am in a family/friends football elimination pool.  Really she was just trying to tell me how my team of the week was fairing but my wee little brain could not handle any more numbers…and kaboom.

This is I think the third year I have been in the football elimination pool.  The first year I nearly won. The second year I was nearly the first person knocked out. This year I am hoping to be back with a vengence.  You have to know that I am not a big football fan.  I save my fandom for NASCAR yet clearly I stink at fantasy NASCAR. However- so far with football I am doing pretty good- yet I only casually watch…maybe if there is nothing else on. I have three teams that are “favorites” (just picked at random) two that are “anti-favorites” and the rest are just men running around after a ball.  Don’t even ask why I decided to take part in the elimination football pool….because honestly? I don’t know.  But so far I don’t have any dings against me.

Football won’t be taking over my love of NASCAR- ever. There is no danger to that.  And I am actually realy enjoying this NASCAR fantasy league much more than those dumb online ones….even though I stink at it.  Mostly I guess, I just really need to talk to my mom about not giving me football scores when I am intently watching a NASCAR race.  Believe it or not- exploded brains does not clean up easy out of the carpet.

I have had three different topics for posts floating around my brain- some of them since the end of last week but just have not had the patience to actually sit down with them and write them out.  I am worried if I don’t do it soon they will go **poof** the way many of my best ideas do when I don’t give them the attention they deserve or need. But these are topics that I REALLY want to discuss here- so I am going to do them right here in this post even though they aren’t related really except that they are all NASCAR related. So bear with me.

I am going to start off with pit crew members: In the last two races there have been at least two incidents of crew members being hit on pit road.  In Richmond, Tony ended up flipping the tire carrier (Dwayne Moore)for David Reutimann’s 00 team, and just this past weekend at Louden, Clint Pittman a rear tire changer for Casey Mear’s had his foot fractured when run over (by Denny Hamlin if memory serves me correctly) on pitroad. He will be out the rest of the season. Now I know I have talked about how I am completely fascinated with pit crews. My friend and I were talking about the “controlled” chaos of the ballet that is a pitstop. I know that probably doesn’t sound very manly to describe a pitstop as a ballet- but that is exactly what it is.  It is extremely choreographed however when things things go wrong sometimes they go very very wrong as in the case with the two crew members getting hit lately.  Dwayne Moore, tire carrier recently clipped by Tony Stewart, suggests in an article on NASCAR.COM  that when a driver clips a crewman that the driver should be penalized. I really don’t know if I agree with that or not- in both cases recently- I don’t think that the drivers saw the crew members until after the damage had been done. It appeared to me that both were coming around from car when the car the crew members were working on were canted in their pitbox so that the rear was obscuring the view of the crew member.  I don’t know if there is anything more that can be done- but I don’t necessarily think that penalizing drivers is the answer. Of course then again it’s not my butt out there with these 3400 lb cars zooming in and out within inches of me either.

Now onto Sponsors: Within the last two days two major sponsors have pulled sponsorships from their teams for next season: Jack Daniels (currently sponsor’s Casey Mear’s 07) and Jim Beam (current sponsor of Robby Gordon’s 7). These are just the latest in some sponsors pulling out of our sport. However, I was thinking this would probably be the perfect opportunity for a sponsor to come into the sport.  How about an Apple sponsored car? Or Itunes? Or…(and you know the guys would be completely unimpressed by this one) but how about a Dooney & Bourke car (can you imagine the paint schemes on that sucker? Wicked cool).  Maybe a GOOGLE car? or a Kraft car? (I could go on and on so I will stop here).

And, finally, banquet tickets: NASCAR announced a little over a week ago that they would be allocating 300 banquet tickets for the top 12 teams to give away to fans. I was so excited when they announced that they would be moving the banquet to Las Vegas this year – because I can totally go- the awards banquet is actually on one of my furlough days so technically I wouldn’t even need much time off. However, it’s getting my hands on two tickets that is going to be the trick.  I REALLY want to go so you can bet I am going to be keeping my eyes open at the websites of all 12 teams hoping to luck into something.  What’s a girl got to do to get two tickets to the banquet anyway? Can you imagine the tweets from that event? I really want to be there live and in the flesh and not watching it again this year on my TV thinking damn it would be fun to be there!  I want to be in that 25% of the audience that is fans! If you see any opportunities you let me know!

UPDATED TO ADD PENALTY POINTS: NASCAR announced today that the number 18  Joe Gibbs Racing driven by Kyle Busch was penalized 25 owner points, 25 driver points an the crew chief, Steve Addington, was penalized $25,000 and placed on probabtion until the end of the year for failing post race inspection after the race at Louden. The car was in violation of 12-4-I (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8 1B (the height of the car at the left front fender did not meet the required specification; too low in post-race inspection) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book. What that means in English? Is that the left front was too low. They were also cited for 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing).

Well folks, here we are- the CHASE is on.  Who will win? Well you all know I want Tony to win of course and Ryan Newman to be a very close second.  I also want the chase to be close this year- I want it to come down to at least Phoenix- but Homestead would be better.  I want it close and fast and fun!

I wish I had caught qualifying or happened to actually dvr it. Tony qualified 2nd- which is a totally awesome qualifying effort for him. I was totally stoked when I saw that he had qualified that well.

I had forgotten how stressful it can be to watch a chase race….Where is my driver? Who’s in front of my driver? Who’s behind my driver.  Wait is that my driver blowing up…no just Kasey Kahne, I can relax.  It’s stressful. I can say this…Tony’s car seemed pretty good for the most part.  He led some laps. The pit crew seemed to struggle a little bit- but we are talking tenths of a second differences between his pit stops and those of the then leader Juan Pablo Montoya.

Then something went wrong- a loose axle cap.  The team came in the next round of pit stops and fixed it but of course it ate up a bunch of spots. Luckily though, they didn’t get a lap down and thanks to Tony driving past people and a two tire stop Tony was able to make his way up to 14th position before the end of the race (under a yellow/checker because of an accident by AJ Allmendinger at the start finish line).

Overall the race could have went a lot better- however it could have been a lot worse…

After CHASE RACE ONE Tony Stewart is in 6th position in the chase, 74 points behind Chase leader Mark Martin, who won the race at Louden. Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman finished seventh at the race and climbed to 7th in the chase standings.

So am I the only one who has noticed that there is a fairly “new” trend in naming the pit crews? I like it. I think it gives the pit crew’s personality! The first moniker for a pit crew i heard was for Matt Kenseth’s KILLER BEES. Fitting. They usually are (were) wearing yellow and black. Bees are fast and sting and I tend to avoid them since I am afraid of them. Then just this year Biffle and 3M held a contest to name his pit crew. They came up with The Pit Bulls. Another fitting one…but I think it would also work for any of Red Bull driver’s crews…

My favorite however, has to be one I just learned about today…and that is the Home Depot team. They apparently are marketing themselves as Logano’s Paisanos. I don’t know why but I LOVE IT. They even have themselves an AWESOME shirt (click on shirt to go to ordering site it Joegibbsracing.com):

I mean what’s not to love? The name even rhymes.  Personally I think the shirt is freaking awesome!!!

However I think Tony’s pit crew needs a name- mostly because I am TIRED of typing TEAM Office Depot/Old Spice over and over.  It’s tiring frankly and I don’t like slashes.  I can NOT think of a good name for them to save my life.  NOR can I think of a good for any team…(I think Kyle’s team needs a name too).  I kinda came up with a name for Ryan’s pit crew…but it’s kinda lame.  So …any ideas people? I know you are a creative bunch…give it to me.

(By the way- my name for Ryan’s pit crew? Newman’s Soldiers? I told you it was kinda lame.)

Instead of doing my usual regurgitation and takes on the race from the standpoint of a Tony Stewart fan…I am just simply going to write a letter to Team Tony.

Dear Team Office Depot/Old Spice (and Burger King for two one more races):

You guys were so ON IT at the beginning through the middle of the season. Lately, however, something is just slightly OFF.   I obviously don’t know what but we really REALLY need to pull it together. It can’t be the pressure of whether or not you are making the chase because you have been locked in for several weeks.  You are not the only team that is off lately (Jimmie/Chad/Team Lowes comes to mind)…but you are my team!

The last two races alone wayward lugnuts have ruined our pitstops and lost us major positions. Now I am not saying it’s just the pit crew. Tony obviously had a mea culpa moment on the track today…and he said it right over the radio.  I think that some how we just get frustrated. Mistakes happen- but come on guys we need to recover!!

I know you all know that the next ten races are it. This is GO TIME.  We KNOW you have the equipment. We KNOW you have the driver. We KNOW you have the pit crew. Let’s just make them all work together.  If something happens…don’t get frustrated- just dig in a little deeper. I know you guys can do it! GO TEAM OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE/BURGER KING.

Let’s Go Fast! Amy

****

Notes About Richmond:

  • I have mentioned here numerous times that I have always been fascinated with pit crews. Kudos to ESPN and ABC for the pit crew cam. I LOVE IT. Just wish they had more of them.
  • Speaking of pit crews…one of the parts that has fascinated me is how they can run around the cars out there on pit road with cars just feet behind them, in front of them, all around them, buzzing in and out of pit boxes…nay PEELING OUT of pit boxes trying to get a leg up on competitors.  I know that there are safety measures (like mandated helmets and pit road speed limits) but still.  Tony’s run in with David Reutimann’s rear tire carrier was a reminder that those guys are in a dangerous job!!!  I think that because of the way David’s car was canted in the pitstall that he wasn’t able to see the tireman coming around to the other side.
  • Tony gets 50 brownie points for helping Carl Edwards down the stairs after the Chase 2009 class photo/celebration.  And to answer @KevinMBoots77‘s question he posed here, unfortunately my brownie points are really worth nothing but my admiration.  Although how cool would that be to have Amy’s Badgroove race wear. Hell…let’s get really crazy…what would an Amy’s Badgroove paint scheme look like???
  • I am majorly bummed that Kyle Busch did NOT make the chase. However to those who believe his is immature? Did you listen to his post race interview? If not you should (I am sure it will be on youtube some time in the next couple of days).  That was mature beyond his years.

And I will end this with: Let the games begin!

If you were watching the race on Sunday night at Atlanta you probably saw two of the four new Burger King commercials featuring my our favorite driver, Tony Stewart.  These are better than the ones where he is riding around in the car with the King…as I have made abundantly clear since the king began showing his plastic face on the TV I find him…creepy.

Anyway- these commercials are kicking off a national Burger King Ad campaign staring none other than Tony Stewart. The ad campaign’s purpose is a contest- where contestants can enter codes from products purchased (42 oz Drink Cups, 32 oz Drink Cups, and Large Frys). There are 42 daily prizes including things like Autographed BK race memorabilia, BK Tony Stewart Hats, and $25.00 BK gift cards.  There will be a grand prize drawing at the close for the contest for a Trip for FOUR for a “Tony Stewart Experience” to “hang with Tony and his team” or you can choose to take $10,000.  As much as I could totally use the $10k I would totally take the experience instead!!  I mean that is one of those maybe once-in-a-lifetime if you are one of those lucky type of people kind of experiences.

If you want to see two of the four videos (the Sockmaster and the School of Endorsements ones) you can find them on this website.  Here are some pictures from the commercial shoot:

Tony, Estrada and Carrot Top on the set of the School of Endorsements ad

Tony, Estrada and Carrot Top on the set of the School of Endorsements ad.

Tony Stewart, driver/owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, climbs into the hot seat to prove his love for the famous WHOPPER® sandwich in the latest ad campaign for BURGER KING® restaurants. The ad titled, “Polygraph Prep,” is the last in a series of four ads that begin airing on Sept. 7, 2009.

Tony Stewart, driver/owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, climbs into the hot seat to prove his love for the famous WHOPPER® sandwich in the latest ad campaign for BURGER KING® restaurants. The ad titled, “Polygraph Prep,” is the last in a series of four ads that begin airing on Sept. 7, 2009.

You also can get three free entries (no purchase necessary) by going to the Be The King of the Pit game site.

  • First off I have to give a shout out to my fellow Smoke fan Kevin M. Boots who was the one who told me about the contest (via facebook) because apparently I had been living in a cave or something. Thanks @KevinMBoots77!!!
  • Another one has to go to Valli of The Fast and The Fabulous because I didn’t know about the LIVE POLYGRAPH Mr. Stewart will be participating in at www.truthabouttony.com. Starting on September 25th fans can submit and vote on questions to be asked of Tony during his lie detector test.  These questions along with the question Tony being asked if he loves the Whopper will be asked on October 20th at 1:00PM eastern time.
  • Am I the only one who thinks that the name of the contest is funny? The Be The King of the Pit? That cracks me up and makes me think about last year’s old spice Tony Stewart’s Arm Pits ad campaign.
  • Also of the two I have seen (the ones in the above link in the third paragraph) both have funny lines that not only crack me up but have me repeating often. I can’t tell you how many times I have told people (and by people I mean my family – most of whom know I am kidding) “Put a sock in it, Sockmaster.”  And sometimes I find my self just saying…ESTRADA!!!! (say it with me!) These are way more funny to me than the old spice ones. But then again…I have a bizarre sense of humor.
  • If you get codes and you don’t want them??? Please give them to me…I REALLY wanna win.