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All I can say is wow. I was able to catch most of Kyle’s press conference, along with snippets of Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and all of Tony Stewart’s today thanks to live streaming video (gotta love the internet!!) And wow.

I heard Tony’s statement yesterday (I think it was yesterday) about him talking to Kyle about the incident and that they were on the “same page” regarding the last lap incident at Daytona (don’t know what I am talking about? Click here for video of the last 5 laps). I don’t necessarily know what that page is- but there must be a pretty darn big page break in the middle of it.

Frankly, I was kind of surprised yesterday when Tony made it sound like it was pretty much water under the bridge, these things happen let’s get on with Chicago kind of thing (that wasn’t exactly what Tony said mind you but that is the impression I got)  because Saturday night…Kyle LOOKED pissed. And frankly- he probably WAS pissed- especially being in the heat of the moment on a hot evening.

Well today during the media session with Kyle- not only did he look pissed but he sounded pissed.  Kyle was asked what could be done about incidents like the one that happened on Saturday at Daytona and he said that “If the second place car purposely dumps the first place car- NASCAR should black flag them and they should definitely not be called the race winner.” Then he was asked by the same reporter (I believe it was Dustin Long) to clarify- did he believe that he was dumped on Saturday to which Kyle definitely responded with an emphatic affirmative.

Fast forward through the media sessions a bit- other drivers have come and gone including Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne- both of whom were asked about their views on the incident and both of whom said they did not believe the incident was on purpose.   Tony comes out for his session and starts off by stating straight away that he’s not going to say anything any different than what he said previously- he has spoke with Kyle and they are on the same page.  Someone immediately brings up that he probably didn’t hear what Kyle said earlier and he tells them he read the transcript he knows what he said- his statement still stands. The media in the room were mostly respectful in that they didn’t go where clearly Tony didn’t want to go…except for one guy who wanted to ask about Kyle’s stance that in a situation like that a black flag should be given to which Tony answered “I am not going to bite on your lure.”  I can’t really blame him. He clearly stated at the beginning of the session that he didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

Now I don’t know what the “same page” is Tony was talking about because  seems that Tony is in a different chapter of the book than Kyle is.  Does it surprise me? No. Kyle is a young, very aggressive driver. I have been to a race and heard half the track boo the guy. He had a hot season last year. This year he is struggling a little bit (in comparison to last year).  It was obvious by hearing Kyle talk today (I am speaking of his comments about Stewart-Haas Racing’s affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports) that he is still a little bitter about being let go from Hendrick Motorsports (and I bet after Kyle’s season last year Rick Hendrick might have been wondering if he made the right move there).

Kyle doesn’t have a yellow stripe on his bumper but he is only 24 years old.  I personally think that the younger you are the more likely you are to lash out. The more likely you are to try to fight EVERY battle. I think of where I was when I was 24 years old compared to where I am now personally- I was different. I was more aggressive (where know I tend to refine passive-agressiveness into an art).  Best I can figure it, at that age I had just hired on at my job in a permanent basis and just thinking about my attitude towards difficulties on my commute has changed  (got to carry the whole cars theme here)…I now don’t get as angry. Someone cuts me off- most days now I will just mutter under my breath and carry on with myself (notice I said MOST days…not ALL). Back then…I would have made sure the driver knew I felt I was “wronged” somehow.  People change (I like to think mostly for the better) as they get older.

If you were to compare Kyle to a book, Kyle is still in the preface (and Joey Logano- in case you are wondering- he has barely made it to the Title Page). Tony is probably about a a quarter to a third of the way into the story (I have to say this – cuz Tony’s only a couple years older than me). It’s not too far into the story that Tony doesn’t understand where Kyle is…but he understands a little bit more of the plot.

I actually REALLY like Kyle…and honestly had he won Daytona- I would have been a little disappointed that Tony didn’t win (I am, after all a Tony fan first and foremost) but I would have been glad for Kyle.  (I did get to see Kyle win in Vegas this year- and let me tell you that rocked! Seeing him win at his hometown track was awesome).  I am still of the stance that this was “one of those racing deals.” I don’t think Kyle expected Tony to be pulled up to his right rear quarter panel as far as he did when he moved right for the block any more than  Tony expected Kyle to move up on him.  These cars are moving extremely fast and you have to remember the drivers have limited vision in the car (various factors do play into this including lack of side view mirrors and safety restraints- which Kyle and Kasey and Joey should all be very thankful for seeing as they all took hard hits and walked away to play another day).

So last weekend Tony was driving a new paint scheme (the BK paints scheme was mostly white with blue and orange) and won at Daytona at night. This weekend Tony is running a special “Back To School” Office Depot paint scheme (mostly white with lots of other colors) for a race Saturday night at Chicagoland.  Hmmm maybe he will win again.

I found a picture of the car- so be prepared to look for it (not that you can miss it- it will probably be the most colorful car out there):

My favorite part is the part at the top that looks like a composition book. And of course the writing implements because I LOVE pens and the sort!! Anyway…the car will be hard to miss don’t you think?

This might be old news to some of you and I meant to mention it a couple days ago but I wanted to tell you that Tony Stewart will be featured on CNBC’s “Inside Track: Refueling the Business of NASCAR.”  The hour long program, hosted by CNBC Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell will go one-on-one with the chairman and CEO Brian Friance to discuss how he plans to weather the storm. The program will also take viewers inside the garage of driver-turned-owner Tony Stewart.

“Inside Track” will premiere on CNBC on Thursday July 9th at 9:00pm EST (check local listings…for DirecTV users this CNBC is channel 355).

I have had my DVR set for nearly a week…forgive me for giving you all such short notice!

Just some random thoughts I have been thinking about but too lazy to pull into individual posts…some NASCAR-related, some not…so put on your wading boots:

  • It was probably the night of July 2nd or July 3rd, but I had the strangest dream. I dreamed I was in NY with my friend and the Statue Of Liberty was alive and walking around crushing things like Godzilla.  Of course I have never been to NY so in my dream NY looked like San Francisco….it was disturbing.
  • Fireworks: For the first time in many many moons, my town decided to allow “safe and sane” fireworks which is kind of cool right? Well it’s also my 15 month old nephew’s first experience with fireworks. So I purposely didn’t go outside with the family to watch / worry about someone losing a finger. Why? Cuz they freak me out and I didn’t want him to be a big scaredy cat like his aunt.  Reports were that he was very mesmerized by them and not scared at all.  I saw the pictures – they were pretty!
  • I did however take part in the post fireworks family smores tradition. It is tradition that on the forth my dad builds a little fire in the camping weber and we toast (or is it roast? I dunno I usually just stick mine in and wait for em to catch on fire then blow them out and they are perfectly charred just the way I like em) marshmallows and make smores. Unfortunately my nephew was asleep by then…so no sticky marshmallow mess for him.
  • I have decided that I don’t like the races on tv with “limited” commercial interruptions cuz even though they put the commercial on I can still see the track and mostly I am like WHAT IS GOING ON? Plus I worry if I wander from the room I will miss something. I don’t know WHY I feel this way because I am use to this on HOT PASS but when the national broadcast is like that I feel stressed.
  • TC at TheNascarInsiders is making a fairly bold prediction stating that Tony will win the 2009 Sprint Cup Championship…what do you think? I love the sound of it. I really do BUT it’s a little early. Although he is HOT right now. I don’t wanna jinks him!

Well I guess I didn’t have as much to expound upon as I thought I did.

Originally I planned to write this entry right after the race on Saturday night, so I could get it up and published and enjoy my rare Sunday.  I like writing out my thoughts about the races but I definitely don’t like lagging behind a day or three to publish them. However, with a finish like that? I decided I needed to time to digest exactly what happened.

Let’s start with the beginning of the race.  Tony had the pole since qualifying was rained out and he is the points leader.  This week I honestly didn’t pay too much attention to practice like I usually do so I don’t even know where he was there. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even until Friday afternoon that I remembered that Tony was running his Burger King paint scheme.  This had him and his crew leaving behind the usual Red  for a mostly white and blue car (the firesuits on the other hand were a gorgeous BLUE color! I loved them- and don’t get me started about Tony’s helmet!)  I am glad Tony spent so much time at the front of the field on Saturday frankly, because I don’t think I could have found him mixed in.  Seeing Tony in a mostly white car…did not compute.

Because of Tony’s starting postion they were able to pick any pitstall they wanted. The team picked the box closest to the exit of pitroad and Team OfficeDepot/OldSpice Burger King were on the ball!  Let me tell you that every pit stop whether it be  green flag or caution stops, that team had Tony coming out of the pits first all night long. It’s not like the crew weren’t adjusting on the car for Tony too…because they threw all kinds of changes at that car including trackbar and wedge.  They were just on top of it.

Between awesome pit stops and good adjustments on the car I don’t think I saw Tony scored any lower than 5th position the whole night and that was just one of those drafting deals where Tony got bumped out of the draft early in the race and couldn’t fall back in line until he was 5th. He quickly moved himself back up. Tony also led the most laps so gets a bonus point for that too (something he was swapping back and forth with Denny Hamlin most of the race).

Now to the white flag lap. Kyle got around Tony for the lead. Tony was able to hook up with Jimmie Johnson for a little drafting help. Tony gets a run on Kyle and looks to pass him. Kyle moves over to block him (as he should have done).  Tony again gets a run on Kyle and moves to the outside to pass him. Too late Kyle tries to block (as he should have done) thus tony clips him and kyle is then completely out of control and smacks the wall hard. Then in something extremely reminiscent of Talladega- Kasey Kahne gets into Kyle HARD. Lifting Kyle into the air (again- thanks to the roof flaps Kyle didn’t sail too far up) and Kyle smacks Kasey Kahne square in the windshield.  It was a hard hit for both of them:

Kyle takes a ride...

This then caused a major pile up just yards from the start-finish line.

Again, like in Talladega, neither driver did anything wrong. You wouldn’t want a driver to pull over and not throw a block when someone is trying to pass him. You also wouldn’t want a driver who was just content to run around behind someone and be ok with second place.  No one is at fault.  It’s “one of those racin’ deals”.  I said that after Talladega and I say it again after Daytona.  The most important thing was that no one was hurt really…just a big bunch of torn up race cars and probably some bruised egos and sad hearts.

I was kind of sad for Tony because it was very obvious he did not like the outcome.  He did not go into that lap wanting to wreck Kyle or cause mass havoc. Tony was very…calm when he came in after the winning his second points race (third race all around including the all-star race) this season with his new team.  I watched him on hot pass pull all the way around and usually he’s talking on the radio and cheering in the car. He did none of that. He was very tame in the car.  It was probably one of THE tamest victory lane celebrations I have ever seen. And he apologized afterwards by saying “if it was my fault I am sorry” but seriously it wasn’t is fault (or Kyles).

Was Kyle mad? Probably. Wouldn’t you be? I would be- especially in the heat of the moment.

More Notes on Daytona II:

  • Ok, the new Coke/Coke Zero brand manager NASCAR commericial? FUNNY. “Are you a NASCAR driver or a NAS-SCARED driver?” Oh that cracks me up.  As does Jeff Burton taking off after the guys.
  • The Tony Stewart/ Burger King Commercials? Eeek. First one was bad enough- I have nightmares where someone pops up in the backseat of my car. Let alone the king- who is creepy anyway. But the one where Tony and the King “swap” spots in the car? That one was just way beyond. Unfortunately they aren’t on youtube yet so I can’t share them with you and show you all that is WRONG with that!
  • Because of the finish- there are lots of articles out there about the big accident and there probably will be all week. But the first bullet in this one is absolutely ridiculous: 1. Tony Stewart will never lift off the throttle on the final lap. DUMB! Why? Because why would ANY DRIVER lift off the throttle?  That would be one fired driver!
  • My favorite saying of the race though? Wally Dallenbach gets credit for this one: Never second guess your butt.

Next weekend we are racing under the lights on Saturday night at CHICAGO!

Our last installment of the Road Course Adventure had us never making it to the track on Saturday. Well not past the parking gate anyway. I am warning you right now that this is a LONG post (filled with lots of pictures) as Sunday was A LONG day.  If you are on dialup though I don’t want to kill your ability to see my site so continue on to read the adventure of Sunday at the Races….

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Well the last we spoke of my Road Course Adventure (see: Infineon: A Road Course Adventure Day 1), BFFM and I had spent Friday afternoon at the track…after getting slightly lost and ending up in Petaluma (my dad says I could get lost in a paper bag). Saturday’s adventure could be dubbed: The Day of Dolphins and Driving. And unfortunately didn’t have a darn thing to do with race cars…as you will soon find out.

On Saturday we decided to skip practice at INFINEON and go nearby SIX FLAGS: DISCOVERY KINGDOM (it use to be Marine World when I was a kid).  Well I didn’t know we would end up having so much fun and we didn’t really even ride anything (neither of us like roller coasters).  Of course it shouldn’t really surprise me that we had so much fun- because we both kind of like going to zoos and the like.   Well we ended up staying a little later than we thought we would but that was ok. Here are some pictures from our fun time at Discovery Kingdom:

A dophin trainer and audience helper instruct the dolphins from the underwater window at Discovery Kingdom. Photocredit: ME

A dophin trainer and audience helper instruct the dolphins from the underwater window at Discovery Kingdom. Photocredit: ME

A camel observes us watching it! Photo Credit: ME

A camel observes us watching it! Photo Credit: ME

I spent a lot of time in the Butterfly habitat..only to find out...that it was really humid in there- and I had to squelch the instinct to swat at them! Photo Credit: ME

I spent a lot of time in the Butterfly habitat..only to find that it was really humid in there- and I had to squelch the instinct to swat at them! Photo Credit: ME

I dont know why but I LOVE Flamingos...

I don't know why but I LOVE Flamingos...Photo Credit: ME

I love this giraffe picture I took. Photo Credit: ME

I love this giraffe picture I took. Photo Credit: ME

After we were done at Discovery Kingdom- we grabbed a quick bite to eat nearby and took off to the track.  I honestly do not remember what time it was but I do know that we were flagged into the gate and drove up only to have trackworkers tell us to turn around and go in gate one…that gate 7 was now exit only.  We were cranky by this point and decided to go out looking for this vinyard in Calistoga that is owned by my mom’s best friend’s son-in-law because my mom wanted me to pick up a bottle of Cabernet for my dad.  So we drove and drove and drove…through all kinds of wine country…I don’t think I have ever seen so many grapes being grown ever! Anyway traffic was terrible during parts of the drive because of a fairly nasty looking accident at one point and it being Saturday I assume.  We finally get to the Winery only to find it closed. I have no idea if they were closed on weekends or we just missed them closing (we got there about 4:15ish I thing.  So I wasn’t looking forward to it but we turned around and drove back to the track only so we could then drive back to the hotel. I am sure there was a more direct route but we did it this way for two reasons:

1. The genius (me) who printed out directions didn’t think to print directions from the winery directly to the hotel. That was dumb.

2. On the way to the winery we spied a HUGE blue chair and decided it would make good picture fodder…so we definitely wanted to stop at the big blue chair on the way back.  How could we not:

BFFM in the Big Blue Chair

BFFM in the Big Blue Chair. Photo Credit: ME

We also stopped at a cute little market to get something to drink because we were both parched as heck…and while we just picked up some diet cokes and two chocolate covered marshmallows on a stick for the drive- they really have a lot of stuff in that cute little store (although it was murder trying to turn left out of the market to get back on the highway).

So yeah we never actually made it out of the car on Saturday at Infineon…but we still had a lot of fun.

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I must say that after we got back from our entire race-cation I found out that Tony Stewart was at Six Flags but on FRIDAY! Damnation! I totally would have went had I known! URG!

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Stay tune for the final installment- hopefully up sometime Wednesday or Thursday (its a long one!)

Here’s a story of a girl named Amy, who went to Infineon for the first time on June 19-21st to see the NASCAR race.  In tow- her BFF.

On Friday on a semi lark,  we left my home, drove to Santa Rosa to see Tony’s show car:

Tonys Show Car at Office Depot in Santa Rosa, CA

Tony's Show Car at Office Depot in Santa Rosa, CA. Did you know that the office depot car is sparkly? It is when you are up close to it. Photo Credit: ME

From there we were off to the hotel. We were staying in in Concord, CA. All I can say is that HOTWIRE has not led us astray yet. This was a nice hotel- centrally located for our purposes. After a moment to refresh we were on our way to Infineon to check out the track- get our bearings and hopefully catch qualifying since we definitely did not catch practice.

You all know I have a fear of heights.  Its actually a fairly intense fear- so much that I the Ferris Wheel at Disney’s California Adventure made me cry (as an adult). Well this fear also extends to extremely tall bridges…and I knew we would have to be crossing one so I was a little freaked out to have to drive across a bridge. I must have been envisioning like the Bay Bridge or The Golden Gate- because this one didn’t freak me out at all.  So YEY there- since we would have to cross it several times.  The other thing I would have to deal with that I have never dealt with before would be a toll! $4.00!! That is crazy- or so I think anyway! That would be 20 bucks a week if I had to cross that bridge everyday for work or something! Of course I would also have one of those fancy fastrac things and not have to wait to hand my money to a person.

Anyway- we follow our directions to the speedway- and in trying to find the parking area- end up by passing the track and the parking area only to end up in nearby Petaluma. Whoops.  I never said I had a great sense of direction. So we get turned back towards the speedway and I see that I totally missed the parking area turn off- and get turned into the speedway and parked (next to a pasture filled with sheep and goats I might add).  So we walked up to the shuttle stop and just as I was cresting the top of the hill I hear what sounds like my car being pelted with pebbles. I turn to see a jerk in a car peeling out of the gravel lot and peppering my car (which was parked in an end spot) with dirt. Both my friend and I turn and instinctively yell “REAL NICE JERK” and apparently we did it loud enough they heard cuz the passenger turned towards us.  I mean seriously use your freaking head people.  Anyway, we just happened to hit it right so that the shuttle was there at the stop and made our way down to the grandstand area of the track. We were going to watch qualifying in our Turn 7 seats…but problem there was that we were kinda late by the time we made it to the grandstands and it would require either quite the hike or a shuttle ride!! So we took a place right next to the start/finish line about halfway up- which was actually the optimum place to watch qualifying:

Martin Truex Qualifies at Infineon Raceway

Martin Truex Jr. Qualifies at Infineon Raceway. I really liked Martin's blue car for Infineon. Photo Credit: ME

Denny Hamlin takes the green flag at the beginning of his qualifying run. Photo Credit: ME!

Denny Hamlin takes the green flag at the beginning of his qualifying run. Photo Credit: ME!

Jeff Gordon qualifies. I have to say that Jeffs car is extremely pretty in person.  It stands out well.

Jeff Gordon qualifies. I have to say that Jeff's car is extremely pretty in person. It stands out well. Photo Credit: ME

Junior makes his qualifying attempt at Infineon

Junior makes his qualifying attempt at Infineon. Photo Credit: ME

I am going to have to admit that it was a little more disorientating than I thought it would be to be sitting in stands on the “wrong” side of the track. By that I mean that the grandstands at the startfinish line they are on the side of the track that would be considered “infield” at an oval. That was just a little odd to me.

After qualifying we wandered through the tunnel to the merchandise area (you can see it on the otherside of the track over there in the qualifying pictures). I don’t know if it was me or not but there seemed to be signifigantly fewer merchandise haulers at infineon than elsewhere. I don’t know if the others were located somewhere else but I didn’t see that many. When were done with merchandise we wandered back over to the shuttle and left for the day.

Next Up: Infineon: A Road Course Adventure Day 2: Saturday