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NASCAR fans want to know about LOVE this week, at least according to ASK.COM’s top ten NASCAR question searches. Four of the ten questions this week are about the love life of drivers, two about Tony Stewart, one about Jamie McMurray and one about Kasey Kahne.

These are the top ten NASCAR questions asked at ASK.COM between 7/27/2009 and 8/2/2009 regarding NASCAR (like last time my smartass replies helpful answers in bold):

1.  Where is Pocono Raceway? Long Pond, PA.

2.  How do NASCAR drivers use the bathroom? Again with this? People they use it the same way we do…just because they are drivers doesn’t mean they sit there with a steering wheel in their hands or make vrrroooom noises and if they do…um I don’t wanna know about it.

3.  Does Tony Stewart have a girlfriend? Is it because he’s the points leader or because he has SWAGGER that you want to know? (speaking of SWAGGER, I have a question regarding Tony’s  pitcrew’s swagger shirts- see below)

4.  Who is Tony Stewart dating? I honestly don’t know- he never tells me these things. Of course he never tells me anything at all. As a matter of fact- he doesn’t know me (nor I him)- sorry to disappoint.  Speaking of dating though, do you think if a NASCAR driver crashes and burns on a date, they pull out a back-up date from the reserves, like they do cars during practice??

5.  What does NASCAR stand for? Not Actually Seeing Cars Around Racetrack? Come on, people, we talked about this one last time too.

6.  Who won the Brickyard 400? Jimmie Johnson won….Juan Pablo thinks it was a stolen victory though because he was caught speeding.  What do YOU think?

7.  How do NASCAR drivers go to the bathroom? Maybe a diaper company should consider a NASCAR sponsorship deal.

8.  Who did Jamie McMurray marry? Hopefully his wife. (I believe her name is Christy if that is what you are looking for).

9.  Who holds the 144.892 mph Cup series race record at Pocono Raceway? I will give you a hint…his name is Rusty and he’s a race reporter for ESPN.

10. Does Kasey Kahne have a girlfriend? If he does I hope she likes Budweiser.

*****

Ok so the following picture was in the Pocono photo gallery at tonystewart.com (click on it to embiggin).  I can see that the crew’s shirts spell out SWAGGER and that each letter stands for something. So far I have made out S, half of G and R:  S = Smooth, The top part of the first G I think says Girls, and the R is Respect.  Not knowing is killing me…any ideas?

Blatantly stolen from tonystewart.com's photo gallery- it belongs to them not me.

Blatantly stolen from tonystewart.com- this is not my picture!

NASCAR that is who.  Remember way back when NASCAR announced that they would be forming a CITIZEN JOURNALIST MEDIA CORP (CJMC) and that certain bloggers would be included (here are my thoughts on the initial announcement of the formation of the Media Corp)? Well last month they announced their list of bloggers/ alternate media who are taking part in this program. Well I forgot to tell you that I was asked to be a member and of course I said yes.

What does this get me? Well I can apply for press credentials at tracks (I have to adhere to the standards that the traditional press regarding dress and conduct), I have access to media pr announcements through NASCAR and there are other benefits as well (including taking part in our inaugural TOWN HALL MEETING with special guest Bobby Labonte- which was really fun and I will tell you about that in a bit).

How did I get picked? I don’t exactly know! I just logged into my email one day and there was an invitation sitting in my email box.  Between my communications from some of the PR people in charge of us citizen journalists at NASCAR and talking to Valli over at The Fast and The Fabulous, I have garnered that they have just been watching and listening: their ears to the information superhighway so to speak.  I thought this was flattering and interesting that NASCAR was scoping us out- and seeing what we had to say.  However I admit that in the back of my mind it also conjured up visions of that little stack of money with eyes and the music (originally done by Rockwell) “Somebody’s Watching Me” music from the Geico commercials.

So back to the town hall meeting for the CJMC. Well first we were told about the appropriate manner of dress (no team memorabilia, garage area dress code enforced, that kind of thing) and some other business related stuff- then we got to question Bobby Labonte- which was fun. Many of us (including me) submitted questions to him via twitter or before hand and he was asked and them and answered them. It was fun. He answered my two questions (both about social media. My first question was did he say anything negative about the formation of the CJMC- and he said No he didn’t say anything negative coming from that. And I asked him if he thought more drivers would catch on to social media things like Twitter and Facebook, and he said he believed they would. ). It was fun and I really hope that NASCAR holds more of these sessions with drivers for us- because frankly- that totally rocked and I would love to participate in more.

How will this change badgroove.com? Well I don’t know exactly that it will. I am still going to to have a Tony Stewart/ Stewart-Haas Racing bend and I don’t see that changing in the future.  I hope that both Tony and Ryan will take part in a Q&A session for the CJMC- I would LOVE that.

Well in my Saturday afternoon post (I know I should do those more often- maybe I will) I mentioned finding out pretty much first thing that Tony Stewart would be going to a backup car because he crashed during practice.  This would put him at the back of the 43 car field in the race that should have happened on Sunday. Then it rained out on Sunday. This seems to be the season of rain! So NASCAR finally (and within a reasonable amount of time in my eyes) postponed the race until Monday. The problem with races on Monday- is I have to work. Bah.

I am going to assume though that Tony and Team Old Spice Office Depot did good today all things considered. I know they dealt with a flat tire early in the race- that ended up putting them a lap down.  I also know that thanks to the competition Caution thrown at lap 20 that he was the lucky dog and fought his way back up to be in or near the top ten for most of the day.  Tony Stewart finished in tenth position at Pocono (after starting 43rd- so I say we call it a good day).  Teammate Ryan Newman finished fourteenth. Tony maintains his position in the points as POINTS LEADER (Yey Tony!!).  Ryan Newman dropped two spots in the standings to 9th (still within the chase- barely).

Notes on Pocono (far and few between since I didn’t get to watch the actual race):

  • Congratulations to Denny Hamlin- race winner. It was good to hear that Denny won!
  • Dear Jimmie Johnson: My friend thinks you should sell the “Chad is Rad” shirts that you were sporting during the Rain Delay on Sunday- she would def love one. She says you could have the proceeds go to your foundation…she is sure other HMS fans would buy them too.
  • Between Fox Sports and NASCAR.COM live leaderboards- FoxSports was just a tad faster for me. Just wanted to share that. But I like the layout of the one at NASCAR.COM better.
  • Part of me wants the Tony Stewart Swaggar shirt that says YOUR DRIVER STINKS MINE DOESN’T. Is that weird?

Let’s just call this good and get on with next week’s race- where our favorite drivers will turn left and right at Watkin’s Glen!

Ok, so I was laying in bed this morning contemplating whether or not to get up. It was 9:12. I had been awake for probably about 20 minutes or so trying to think of something fun yet extremely cheap that my mom and I could do today since my dad has to work and it isn’t often that we both have a day off where we can do something fun- just the two of us.  As I was laying there all comfy and warm in my bed I get startled with a BEEP BEEP BEEP …meaning that someone has sent me a text message so I roll over and grab my phone to see:

FROM BFF: Y is Tony in a backup car?

I initially think “Oh she must have misunderstood- they were probably talking about the race in Pocono in June- where Tony crashed during practice and had to go to a backup car…where he then won.”

I grab my remote and hit SpeedTV first – forgetting that we are on ESPN now…so I have to search the DTV menu because I can never remember where ESPN is and as soon as I find Happy Hour I flip it and sure enough in the ticker running across the bottom: Tony Stewart Crashed in Practice, Will start in backup car at the rear of the field.

Well- if you have ever watched a race with me where Tony isn’t doing too well you might be able to imagine- a string of expletives about a mile long.  We text back and forth. I may have mentioned that “I hate this track” and something about the “evil triangle.” And even though we are both fairly competitive people and she would love nothing more than to see her driver (Jeff Gordon) win ever race from now until the end of the season- she texted me back with a reassuring he can do it. And she is right…if any one can do it? Tony can.

But still tomorrow team old spice/office depot will have to dig their heels in and work hard to get their car to the front. Tony will have be more focused than ever. All I can say is at least they should have a good pitstall- which should help gain positions in the pits and move Tony up the field.

Thoughout the rest of practice, ESPN sportscasters kept referring to Pocono as “the tricky triangle” but I am sticking to my “evil triangle moniker.” I KNEW there was a reason I didn’t like Pocono!

This weekend had me watching the race at THE NASCAR CAFE in Las Vegas with my BFF.  This is the second race I would have watched there and let me tell you this: the NASCAR CAFE has changed a lot in less than a year…and it’s not for the better.  First off they changed the menu drastically. Secondly- they closed the top part of the restaurant…which was always my favorite place to sit. Now you have to sit downstairs by the bar- that sucks too.  And lastly? They have stopped doing the thing where you pay a ten dollar cover and get free cola and are entered in a drawing.

Also? They have this huge burrito. I mean I think I heard it has 27000 calories (no that isn’t a mistake).  And if you can eat it all- it’s free.  Well each time a person decided to try it…they interrupt the race for it…and march it around the bar. Um NO! We were there to watch the race. Not watch a burrito parade.

Anyway- I was glad to see Tony not only qualified in the top ten but that he was able to remain in the top ten through most of the race. I was glad to see him pass Biffle late in the race to take over third. He retained his points lead over a new second place – Jimmie Johnson.  Teammate Ryan Newman finished 14th retaining his 7th position in the overall points standing.

  • One of the things I love about the racing at Indy is the pageantry.  It’s much like Daytona that way.  I think ESPN did a great job by incorporating the driver intros into the broadcast.
  • In my rush to get to Vegas on Thursday I didn’t think to DVR the Stewart HotPass channel. Urg.
  • Interesting Observation One: While at the cafe, when Junior blew an engine? The whole place errupted in CHEERS! I was shocked- normally there would be a collective AWWW MAN or something but not cheers for Juniors misfortune.  I was not shocked however, when the place erupted into cheers when Kyle Busch crashed.
  • Interesting Observation two: Conversation heard at the table behind us during the last five laps of the race: Friend One: GO JJ GO! Friend Two: Who’s in the 5 car? Friend One: Uh I dunno some guy. Of course this was right before Friend Two referred to Jimmie Johnson as junior. I am not sure if they were just not really NASCAR fans or if they were drunk…in Vegas it could be either.
  • Ok…I have been saying for a long time that I didn’t get the “She’s From Russia” version of the Tony Stewart/ Old Spice commercial.  I REALLY don’t get the talking with food in his mouth commercial.  It’s rather gross.

Next weekend we are back at that evil little triangle track Pocono already. Tony won there last race…can he do it agan?

As many NASCAR fans know…ASK.COM is the official search engine of NASCAR and sponsor of driver Bobby Labonte.

I always like to see what kind of searches lead people to my site…and sometimes they are from Ask.com. I recently got my grubby little mitts on the top 10 NASCAR driver searches for ASK.COM and they are not surprising- well the fact that Kyle Busch is so low on the list is surprising but other than that…not surprising:

1.  Tony Stewart
2.  Jeremy Mayfield
3.  Dale Earnhardt Jr
4.  Jeff Gordon
5.  Dale Earnhardt
6.  Kasey Kahne
7.  Mark Martin
8.  Jimmie Johnson
9.  Kyle Busch
10. Carl Edwards

However my favorite part of the data I got was the Top-10 NASCAR related questions on ASK.COM (my snide helpful answers and comments in  bold italics):

1.  How do NASCAR drivers use the bathroom? The same way you and I do- a via a toilet. I just hope they wash their hands when they are done.
2.  What does NASCAR stand for? If you don’t know you probably aren’t a fan since this is a basic trivia question: National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.
3.  How many times has Jeremy Mayfield been married? Don’t know, don’t really care.
4.  Who won the Lifelock 400? The Lifelock 400 at Michigan was won by Mark Martin. The Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland was won by…wait for it…Mark Martin. Jeff Gordon came in second for both races as well. What are the odds of that?
5.  Who is Tony Stewart dating? Don’t know, don’t really care.
6.  How much do NASCAR drivers get paid? A whole hell of a lot more than I do but then again I don’t drive 200 mph for 3-4 hours….
7.  How do NASCAR drivers go to the bathroom? They stand up and walk to the nearest facility.
8.  At Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 1/8 mile short straight-aways between the first and second, and third and fourth turns are termed what? Don’t quote me on this but I am about 90 percent sure they are called short chutes.  5 percent of me thinks I made it up the other 5 percent is thinking that is a bull riding term…and I am just confused from last weekend’s rodeo.
9.  Who holds the cup series qualifying record at Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Believe it or not I believe that is Casey Mears.
10. When is the next NASCAR race? Usually Sunday (this weekend its Sunday). Some times Saturday.

Ok- so be patient with me- this one is going to ramble a tad but honestly I have a point or two. I do. So we have talked about my love of the new Chevy Camaro (to the point that where that I wish I could have held on for another year before buying my HHR because I probably would have instead purchased a camaro). Well yesterday I was at my second trip (out of a total of three) to one of my local craft stores when I saw one.  We had just left the store and I carefully backed out of my stall in the parking lot and proceeded down my lane to get out of the complex when something caught out of the corner of my eye.  I actually threw my car into reverse and backed up to make sure it was what I thought it was. Yep- a brand spanking new Camaro- with no plates.  She was beautiful. Of course my mom, who happened to be accompanying me during this trip,  is looking at me going “WHAT? What is going on? Why are we backing up?”  She actually rolled her eyes at me when I said I thought I saw a Camaro and I wanted to look at it. And look I did (cue in “Dreamin’” music from Tony Stewart Armor-All commercial). This one was black and in serious need of some detailing because poor thing was filthy dirty.I still think I liked the orangish red one better. Of course it was clean.

Anyway I am digressing away from my original point, which I haven’t even got to yet:

You still have a chance to not only win Tony Stewart’s 2010 Camaro- but to cash in on the next round of early bird giveaways. Raffle tickets for the car are $100.00 and there are only so many tickets being sold (6014 to be exact).  The next early bird drawing is on July 30th and includes several different prizes including autographed winning race used tire from the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Race, Autographed Office Depot #14 Lightweight Jacket, Autographed Old Spice Pit Crew Shirt, Tony Stewart Memorabilia Gift Baskets, and Armor All Gift Packs.  Even if you win an early bird prize your raffle ticket remains in the drawing for the ultimate prize- the Camaro (along with a personal tour of the Stewart Haas Racing Shop- which I think is pretty darn cool, lunch and a presentation of the keys by Tony himself)- on October 5th, 2009.  All proceeds go to the Tony Stewart Foundation whose mission is to raise and donate funds to help care for critically ill children, drivers injured in motorsports activities and to support other charitable organizations in the protection of various animal species. For more information or to buy your raffle ticket click on the button below:

Also- speaking of the TONY STEWART FOUNDATION…they can now be found on FACEBOOK. Friend them to follow all the great things that the TSF is doing and how you can help.

___

And to answer your question NO I have not bought a raffle ticket…I would love to be able to but right now I am at the best facing a 10 percent pay cut and the worse facing layoffs- so while I believe very much in the causes that the Tony Stewart Foundation is supporting (not to mention that I WOULD LOVE A CAMARO) it’s not feasible for me right now. But I hope you can find it in your heart to give if you can. And I will continue my support of the foundation the best way I can….which right now is spreading the word.

On Thursday Journo at The NASCAR Insiders asked quite simply “Do You Remember Why You Love NASCAR?”  I actually pondered this a bit in my guest entry over at NASCAR THIS WEEK back in April. It is hard for me to put into words why I love the sport that I love…but I do.  As I mentioned in the NTW piece, I have had a love of cars and a love of motorsports in general since I was knee high to a grasshopper and was just naturally drawn to cars since childhood.

Then there is the first hand experiences of being at a track that assault you from the moment you get out of your car; the noise that 43 cars make that can take the breath out of you, the mixture of oil, rubber, sweat, and a myriad of food mixing and giving each track it’s own signature smell, the rush of adrenaline I get during the flyover (and I am not even a driver). It’s a very physical thing to actually be on hand for a race. It’s a feeling that I can not adequately describe despite my many attempt, and it’s definitely something that someone who doesn’t love the sport just can not get.  My uncle still doesn’t get why I would travel 500 miles to “watch cars drive in a circle.”  Even my own best friend didn’t get it until recently…and she knew me back when I was a geeky little junior high school kid (she didn’t get why I had race cars on my walls instead of Charlie Sheen and Tom Cruise). She eventually learned to tolerate it in me until just last year when I finally (only took like what 15-20 years) turned her into a NASCAR fan and now she LOVES it like I do.

Journo’s original point was that the whole Mayfield drug debacle is drawing negative attention to OUR sport- and as fans and lovers of the sport we need to step back, take a breath and remember what is GOOD about NASCAR this season and right now (goes on to give several examples such as Mark Martin winning races at 50 and first time winners Keselowski and Reutimann). His comments got me really thinking about what do I personally love about NASCAR right now at this point in the season (in no particular order):

  • Silly Season. I will proudly stand up and say I LOVE the rumors flying around about silly season. Will Harvick be with RCR next season? Will Brad Keselowski get that full time ride an if he does who will it be for? Will Joe Gibbs Racing be bringing on a fourth car? Will Stewart-Haas be fielding a third car? Will Danica make the jump to NASCAR? Who doesn’t love the surmising and the speculating that comes with this time of the year. Last season? I was all wrapped up in the Stewart-Haas thing (read I was shocked out of my socks) so much that I didn’t have much of a chance to enjoy all that goes with silly season…this year I can sit back and enjoy throwing my twelve cents in for whatever its worth.
  • That Stewart-Haas racing currently has two cars in the top 12 in points. I have been a Tony fan a long long time…I was shocked when he made the jump to owner/driver. I didn’t doubt him, I was concerned but I jumped right on board when I saw how excited he was. But how GREAT is it that he is up there leading the points with teammate Ryan Newman behind him in 7th place in points so far? Yes I know a lot can happen between now and the chase but it’s great right now.
  • Speaking of the chase- I love how drivers are teetering on the edge of making it…or not. It’s better than Bubble Day for the Indy 500! Will Biffle or Reutimann or Bowyer be able to fight their way into the chase? Will Kyle Busch, Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth be able to stay in the chase? It’s drama at it’s best people!
  • That NASCAR, tracks and drivers are starting to embrace social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to us fans. I think that they are important tools- I am on twitter through out the day- more than email. It works for me. I admit to a slight addiction to facebook as well. I love that I can get updates (both personal and official) from these sites without having to hunt around for them. I hope more drivers come on board (hint hint Tony). NASCAR is even working with a group of selected bloggers in creating a Citizen Media Corp- which also rocks because bloggers are fans not journalists or sportscasters and have unique opinions and thoughts that they want heard- and it’s a great feeling to be included and listened to. Plus the more NASCAR bloggers unite in any method the stronger the voices are and thus the more we are heard.
  • The Mayfield drug debacle. Yes it’s turning kind of circus-like and pretty soon we almost expect to see someone like Jerry Springer jump in, however- I am going to disagree with Journo and say that this situation is bringing an important subject to light.  It’s something that hasn’t really been talked about much. And no matter what the ultimate outcome specifically regarding Mayfield’s case in particular- I think that NASCAR will emerge with one thing: a stronger and more broadly understood drug policy.
  • Kyle Busch. You may love him or you may hate him, but everyone has some feeling about him. He’s stepped into the “NASCAR BADBOY” role that some feel has been missing.  He’s young. He’s hot. He drives a mean car. He says the first thing that comes to mind (ok he reminds me of Tony so you know I like him). At Infineon I was actually in the crowd on the track during driver Intros…and when he was announced he was booed so viciously that it made me actually stop taking pictures and turn around to see if I needed to run for cover. Do I think he deserves it? No. Do I think he handles himself well? Most of the time. Do I think he has talent? Hell yeah. I also thinks he brings a little something to the table excitement wise- whether its a war of words between him and Junior or a little bitterness over some on-track action with Tony, you have to admit it adds excitement.

Of course this is not an inclusive list of ALL things I love about NASCAR on any given day. It’s just a brief list I came up with in response to a question. There are more long standing things about the sport that I love too. There are GOOD things to love about this sport all the time.