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Have you seen the movie Almost Famous? There is a scene in that movie where Frances McDormand who plays lead character William’s mother and a college professor stands in front of one of the classes she is teaching and states: “Rockstars have kidnapped my son.” Well I stand before you today and state: The Coca-Cola 600 kidnapped my long weekend. I have also heard it called the 24 Hours At Lowes Motorspeedway (Thanks Trixie…that’s a good one).

So- The Coca-Cola 600 was scheduled to start on Sunday but never really got the chance because of rain delay after rain delay.  I continued to watch Rain Delay coverage…until suddenly my Fox affiliate went out and decided to play Fosters & Smith infomercials disguised as television shows.  No warning or anything…one minute I was watching the DW and Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond and the next minute I was learning about how to care for my turtle, frog, or bearded lizard using Fosters & Smith products of course.  It annoyed me.  I waited and waited and finally decided to check online and apparently it had been postponed until Monday.

Since I live on the west coast the race started at 9:00 am for me…on the last day of my long weekend so there would be no sleeping in for me.  Yey finally the race started. Tony did not have the best of qualifying efforts (he started 28th) so he was mired way down in the pack. The track was green because of the rain- but Tony seemed happy and comfortable with his car and able to move up the field- breaking into the Top Ten inbetween more rain delays.

Unfortunately that last rain delay at lap 227 (mile 340.5) would kind of screw Tony’s Office Depot team.  Having just cycled though some green flag pitstops- he was 19th and trying to work his way back through the field when that last red flag for rain came out.  about three and a half hours later David Reutimann would be declared the winner of the SHORTEST ever Coca-Cola 600- winning on pitting strategy- the same strategy that gave Tony Stewart’s teammate a second place finish.  Tony Stewart remains second in points and is now 44 points out of the lead.  Teammate Ryan Newman moved up to 7th in points after his second place finish.

Notes about the 600:

  • Seriously David Reutimann- Why did you insist on standing around your car for nearly three and a half hours in the rain without an umbrella? It was a little silly.  Did you really think it would make a difference?
  • Ok- I admit I chuckled at the “Billy Bad-Butt” incident.  When Tony called the crew guy Billy Bad-Butt” I laughed.  And we may have even taken turns calling each other Billy Bad-Butt for the rest of the day.  Mostly I thought it was funny because I was pretty sure Tony would have rather said bad ass but didn’t want to get docked 10K for it.  However- Fox displaying it while focused on the crew guy was a little tacky (ok I still laughed…I admit it). And NASCAR.COM leading off this morning’s headline with MEET BILLY BAD BUTT was even worse.
  • I was hoping they would be able to go green as much as the next guy- really I was (especially since Tony was stuck in 19th at the time of that last red flag) but three and a half hours? Is too freaking long to wait!
  • It’s one of my biggest fears? Being at a race that is postponed to the next day. Usually I would end up not being able to go because I tend to use the day after the race as my day to get myself back home and then I am off to work the next day….have you ever experienced the postponement of a race? What happened?

Next Sunday is our first visit of the season to the Monster Mile at Dover.

This weekend for the Coca-Cola 600 Tony Stewart is finally going to be one of the DirecTV HotPass drivers. His channel will be DirecTV Channel 796. Remember DirecTV customers- HotPass is free this season. Be sure to tune into 796…I know I will be.

Also- how long before Stewart-Haas racing gets that first coveted (points) win? First Tony wins the All-Star (non-points) race, then teammate Ryan Newman get’s Stewart-Haas Racing’s first pole! Lowes Motor Speedway has been very good to Stewart-Haas Racing. Let’s hope this weekend will continue their luck.

Honestly- I ordered the leash and the collar before the All-Star Race but got them the Monday after.

Roxy emulates Tonys victory on Sunday by taking the lead. (Ok I admit it- Bad Joke).

Roxy emulates Tony's victory on Saturday Night by taking the lead. (Ok I admit it- Bad Joke).

Yes Roxy always grabs her lead like that when we go for a walk and yes I know she probably shouldn’t but frankly I let her because if she doesn’t have the lead in her mouth she is tracking and it’s hard to control her when she is trying to track on a leash.

Roxy Leads The Way

Roxy Leads The Way

The perspective of this one is different and I kind of like it. Sometimes the mistake pictures turn out the best!

And just because…A Roxy outtake:

Roxy Sticks Out Her Tongue.

Alternate Caption in the style of LOLNASCAR: YES I IZ A STEWART FAN! GOTTA PROBLEM?

I can only imagine the kind of high the guys at Stewart-Haas Racing are on- considering that I am still excited about the All-Star win. In my excitement over the win I realized that in my last post I didn’t do my usual NOTES FROM THE ALL STAR RACE so I will include them here in their own little post.

  • Was I the only one who was kind of surprised that Joey Logano got the fan vote? I don’t know WHY I was so surprised but I definitely was surprised.
  • Did Jimmie Johnson really not understand the format of the race? He repeatedly asked crew chief Chad Knaus about it. I figured it out within a minute of hearing the rules. My parent didn’t get it (although you would think my dad would since he use to go to our local dirt track when I was a kid) and I had to explain it to them over and over again- throughout the race. Chad- I understand your pain! You have far more patience than I.
  • Speaking of Jimmie Johnson- I happened to catch him Sunday on Wind Tunnel and I will say this- the (extremely) short hair surprised me.  It’s about the same length as his beard. Apparently if you go to a BBQ at Jimmie’s friend’s house…you might come back with much shorter hair. It’s taken me quite awhile to grow mine back out so- remind me to be weary of BBQ invitations.
  • The mandatory 10 minute stop before the dash for the cash? Genius! I think every race should have that. Not before the last ten laps- but maybe at the half way point or three quarters point.  Just think how that would change strategy.
  • Who do YOU think caused the wreck that took out Jeff Gordon: Kyle Busch? Ryan Newman? Jeff Gordon? It was just a racin’ deal? I am interested to find out what you think. Let me know in the comments.
  • I would have loved to been a fly on the wall to that celebration party let me tell you. Tony told the press there was going to be an over/under wager as to when he would actually wake up on Sunday. Considering that the race wasn’t even over til after midnight on the East Coast and that Tony then had media obligations before he and the crew could go out and really ring in the celebration.  Of course I have no idea, but if I could throw my money on it I would pick 3:45pm. And for when he actually dragged himself out of bed? 4:14 pm. I pretty much just picked them out of the air…but I guess we will never know! I emailed my friend and told her (she was the one who told me about the over/under bet to begin with) and her official thought is I am not taking enough into consideration and am being far kind on my actual out of bed. Her two cents are actually out of bed at 5:00pm. Feel free to play along in the comments…but realize we will never know the actual answer.
  • I also love this quote from Tony after the race and first win for Stewart-Haas Racing and his new Office Depot/Old Spice team:

    “My first reaction was, I wish I could have seen the looks on their faces when we came off [Turn] 4, and we had the lead with two to go,” Stewart said of his team. “I didn’t dare say anything on the radio. I didn’t say a word. But man, I wanted to see what the pit box looked like those last two laps.”  –Tony Stewart post All-Star race quote.

  • I love that quote because I was able to see those guys all lined up on that pit box watching and cheering! And then to see them jump off! It was a great moment. I am glad my celebratory leap from the couch wasn’t caught on film!

This next weekend gives us the longest race on the NASCAR circuit: the Coca-Cola 600 also at Lowes Motor Speedway.  I hope Tony’s luck from the all-star win carries over to the 600!!! YEY!!!

Yesterday was the All-Star Challenge at Lowes Motor Speedway.  This race is a no- points race.  Basically- this race is for money and as Tony Stewart said nearly all week…”bragging rights.”  It started Thursday night with the Pit Crew challenge.  Then yesterday afternoon was the burn out competition (won by Kevin Harvick after Kyle Busch and DW both disqualified themselves).  The rider with Kyle didn’t seem too pleased that Kyle tapped the safer barrier.

Then came the All-Star race. This race is set up a little different than your average NASCAR race in that it starts with the Shootout where the winner and runner up (and a fan vote) get into the big race.  To not have to race your way into the All-Star race you have to: Have either been a race winner this season or last, won the All-Star race in the past 10 years or be a past cup champion.  The shootout was run in two 20 lap segments.  The winner was Sam Hornish Jr and the runner up was Jamie McMurray. And the fan vote surprised me…it was Joey Logano.  I don’t know why it surprised me but it certainly did.  Qualifying for the All-Star Race is also different in that it includes a full four-tire pit stop. Tony ended up qualifying poorly because he accidently left on the jack after only two tires….much to the dismay of his tire changer.

Now the actual All-Star race has 4 segments. A 50 lap segment with a mandatory caution at lap 24 where all teams had to change 4 tires. Two 20 lap segments with a caution thrown at the end of each one.  The caution at the end of the second 20 lap segment is a mandatory 10 minute caution. Then a 10 lap “dash for the cash” shootout.  Now each segment had a different winner and during the first three segments Tony Stewart was working his way up the field slowly and steadily.  While watching the race I made a mental note to talk about the awesome pass Tony made to get around Joey Logano to break into the top 10- nearly going in the grass (which is totally legal) to get pass him. I figured that his pass would be Tony’s big move of the race. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The racing during the 10 lap dash is intense and hard.  At one point Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, and Jeff Gordon are three wide. Someone loses it (I am not sure if it was Kyle or Ryan) and the two of them touch and bounce off each other. The unfortunate victim here was Jeff Gordon. He ends up into the wall.  Ryan Newman soon ends up cutting a tire and falling back.  There is a random debris caution (again these laps do not count) during which they show Tony sitting inside his car from an incar camera and you can see his eyes thorugh his visor even though it’s tinted for the glare from the lights. They are the big focused eyes -what my dad loves to call “fighter pilot” eyes.  Tony has his eyes on the prize.  The green flies and there  more crazy racing and lots and lots of screaming cheering (apparently you could hear me all the way in Maine) on my part (Roxy at this point decided to take leave of us and seeks solice outside in her dogloo). With less than three laps to go Tony finally gets around race leader Matt Kenseth and never looks back.

CONGRATULATIONS TO TONY STEWART and all of STEWART-HAAS RACING.  WAHOO!!!

I just wanted to again mention the Pit Crew Challenge.  I love watching the pit crews do what they do best and thursday night was of course no exception. I really think it is great for them to get a chance to shine because often they are the unsung heroes of a race team (unless they screw up- and then everyone knows about it). I noticed that some of the people I follow on twitter were tweeting the results so I stopped using twitter so I could enjoy watching the actual challenge.

I really think that both Stewart-Haas racing teams did awesome!  These are teams that are still geling…and they have only been getting better on track (proof of this are the awesome pitstops Tony had at Darlington).  It was great to see Tony out there supporting both his crew and the US. Army crew of Ryan Newman.  The 39 car was piloted during the push by Ryan’s wife Krissie Newman but unfortunately the team was elimated in the quarterfinals.  It was not mentioned who was piloting the 14 car during the push but the team did an awesome job. Making it into the semi finals- and actually had a pretty awesome stop- coming to the line a whole car length in front of Reed Sorenson’s 43 crew.  Unfortunately a penalty on the 14 meant that the 43 crew would be the ones facing off against Jeff Burton.  Jeff Burton’s crew (who’s number 31 car was piloted by wife Kim Burton) would be the ultimate Pit Crew Challenge winners.

I will say this…when I mentioned earlier in the week that I love the Pit Crew Challenge I wasn’t kidding.  However I might need to be sedated if I ever make it to the actual challenge. As it was I was smack talking the tv and jumped off the couch when Tony’s crew initially beat the 43 crew.

I hope to see Tony and Ryan have strong runnings in the All-Star race on Saturday.

All-Star Week

Posted by Amy in General - (1 Comments)

Well it’s All-Star week in NASCAR.  What does that mean? It means that this weekend the race is the All-Star Race , the no-points- all about the bragging rights” (and money I am sure) race.  Also because both this weeks race (the All-Star Race) and next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 (the longest NASCAR race of the series) are both in Charlotte a lot of the race shops have fan appreciation activities going on the in the area.  If you happen to be in the area I suggest you check out “Things To Do In Charlotte During Race Weeks” by The Nascar Insiders.  I only hope that there is a great list of activities like this available for when I am out there in Charlotte one of these years for Race Weeks. It will happen one of these days I am sure of it!

I love the All-Star race because the format is a little different and the drivers that participate seem to enjoy doing so (of course maybe that is because it’s in Charlotte- close to home for many of the drivers).  I really hope they show the burn-out competition again this year- because it’s something fun and different to watch…plus my dad and I like to bet on who will win (also would it kill them to have Tony be in the competition? Maybe he doesn’t wanna play but it would be fun for me!).  But my favorite part of this week actually takes place on this Thursday night! It’s the Pit Crew Challenge!  There are many reasons I love to watch this event but one reason is that the spotlight gets to shine on the crew for a while instead of on the drivers. Watching the challenge really gives you a feel for the athleticism and choreography involved in a pitstop and I highly recommend you watch it if you have a chance. The Pit Crew Challenge will be on SpeedTV at 6:00  Pacific.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I said over the course of the race on Saturday night “This race is never ever ever going to end!” The Lady In Black (Darlington) brought us a record number of cautions (17) for the 501 mile race. Like most race fans- I tend to use cautions to use the facilities and stretch my legs.  Well let me tell you there wasn’t one time during Darlington that I thought to myself “Damn I have to pee but I don’t want to miss anything!” (TMI I know but, unlike most of the drivers- and I honestly don’t know how they do it- I have to pee during the course of a standard race).

I will be the first to admit that I didn’t think that Tony had that stellar of a qualifying run and between that run (he ended up starting 18th) and the fact that Tony had never won at Darlington before- I wasn’t expecting a stellar run on Saturday. (My friend would tell you I am too easily frustrated). I didn’t think all hope was lost for Stewart-Haas Racing since teammate Ryan Newman qualified 3rd.

Once the race got underway- however- I noticed Tony inching closer and closer to the top ten- meanwhile Newman stayed pretty much consistently in the top ten even leading for awhile.  However I have to say that the Office Depot/Old Spice pit crew was ON FIRE Saturday night.  There were a couple of times- especially during that last pit stop- that I jumped off the couch and yelled YES!! excited that they managed to get Tony out of the pits first despite having taken four tires and a full load of fuel.  Even though the last absolutely stellar pit stop put him in 8th (the other seven cars opted to stay out) Tony began to move up through the field at an amazing rate and had the race been any longer I am sure that Tony would have caught both second place Jimmie Johnson and winner Mark Martin.  Another race that was so close…Stewart Haas could nearly taste the victory (I certainly could!)  Tony’s third place finish bumps him up to second in points only 29 points away from leader Jeff Gordon.  Ryan Newman’s fourth place finish bumped him up to 8th in points.  Another great night for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Other Darlington Notes:

  • While I always kinda root for David Ragan because he is on my fantasy team and Juan Pablo Montoya)- was I the only one who didn’t think they should have let that frankensteined car back on the track that last time? I mean the front leftside tire wasn’t even touching the tract completely for goodness sakes!
  • More about commercials I am finding humorous- I am really liking the Bobby Labonte/Ask.com commercials.  I am especially a fan of the one where the woman is raving over about how HOT Bobby Labonte is while looking at him through binoculars when her husband tells her to keep it above the Mason-Dixon line. Too bad ask.com sucks as a search engine.
  • During the national broadcast of the race they played a snippet of radio interaction between Joey Logano and Greg Zipadelli. I don’t even remember what it was about- I think it was about a two versus four tire change on the last stop they had. Joey had a question about it and asked Greg.  However unlike the broadcasters I really don’t think it was a power struggle between the two- more like Joey wanted to know what happened….he is a rookie.
  • Don’t forget the Pit Crew Challenge is this week on Thursday. I LOVE the pit crew challenge and when I make it to Charlotte one of these days for the all-star race- I am so fitting in the Pit Crew Challenge!

The next race is this Saturday on SPEED: The All-Star Race….no points…this one is all about the money!