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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!

It is not cheap being a NASCAR fan.  Race tickets, driver memorabilia (especially if your driver changes teams), transportation, hotels etc can all add to the cost of being a fan if you go to a race.  This is not to say it is not possible to be a fan without going to races- but I don’t think any fan will argue with me that going to a track doesn’t enhance the experience of fandom by about a hundred gazillion times.   Case in point: for the race in Las Vegas in February/March- our tickets alone were $450 and yes that is per person. Granted we did get weekend passes and we got them for the Richard Petty Terrace (those terrace seats? They kick ass- great view!) and we splurged and got one day in the Neon Garage (only one day- Friday- which is the cheapest of the three days). And we sprung for preferred parking (probably won’t do that again- it wasn’t really that big of a savings and their signage on how to get there sucked and we ended up driving around in a big circle and we had even been to the speedway before so…not worth it really).

So I thought to myself, is possible to go to a race without dropping $500 (per person) or more for the entire weekend? I found out that the answer is: Yes! I just did it myself. If you read with any regularity you probably know that my friend and I decided, kind of last minute (or it was last minute to us- the obessive trip planners) to make a dash to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) last month to watch the Subway Fresh Fit 500K live and in person.

Part of the reasoning for that quick trip? It had to do with the fact that we found out that some of the tickets at Phoenix were down to $25 dollars each (yes I am that Amy, in the stands in her Tony Stewart gear). Granted these tickets were in the first 8 or so rows- but we were told by someone who had been to Phoenix that you would pretty much have a good view no matter where you sat- so no need to spring for the expensive tickets. I will be the first to admit I was a little unsure sitting as far down as we were sitting (in the AJ Foyt Grandstands in row 8- which because of the stairs was really more like row 4) but I am telling you that we had awesome seats. Our whole experience at PIR was awesome really. The trick here- as I mentioned before is waiting as long as possible to buy your tickets.  We waited until a month before.  You want to wait long enough that some of the better tickets are lowered- but not so long that they might be sold out.

Next comes the hotel- because it was Phoenix and it was about 800 miles one way for me (and 300+ for my friend in vegas) we defintely needed a hotel.  We decided to use hotwire.com to book our room.  We have never used it before- frankly the idea of not knowing exactly which hotel I am staying at BEFORE I PAY scared me so I have never used it before.  But I decided to bite the bullet and try it. We found an awesome hotel at the airport for $50 a nite.  It saved us over 40%! It was a major chain and the hotel was extremely nice!

Those are my two major tricks. Here is how the weekend broke down monetarily (and I rounded up and this would be for me- who lived farther from the track):

Hotel: 50 (per night- there were two of us and we stayed two nights so that’s 50 per person)

Trip Insurance: $4 per person

Gas: 150.00 (rounded up- based on driving 1700 miles round trip in a car getting 25 mpg with gas being 2.20 a gallon- my trip through three states had gas being anywhere from 2.35 to 1.89)

Ticket: 25.00

Track food: 10.00

Track drink: 20.00 (and yes I took in a beverage- but I didn’t want to get dehydrated- it was the desert)

Merchandise: 65 (I bought two hats and a plastic backpack)

Food (travel food off track): 75.00

Splurge of the trip (pit passes): 50.00

For a total of $449.00 a person for the entire race weekend trip. About the same price I paid for just my race tickets for the Vegas race. So not exactly CHEAP but there are a lot of things you could pare down from my list…if you didn’t splurge on the pit pass that knocks 50 bucks off right there.

I had a good feeling about Richmond all week last week.  Part of it was due to press I am sure- with Tony stating over and over again how Richmond was not one of his favorites it was THE FAVORITE.  I was hoping that my good feeling meant that Tony would win- or that at the very least Stewart-Haas Racing would get that elusive first win with Ryan Newman. It will probably sound bad but I really want Tony to get that first win for Stewart-Haas Racing- nothing at all against Ryan and I can’t explain why, but I just really REALLY want Tony to be the first win. I also wonder if there isn’t a little bit of competitiveness between the two? Do you think they smack talk each other?

Anyway- it was probably me- since I wasn’t feeling that great on Saturday but I was having a heck of time following where Tony was. Well I mean I obviously could figure out where he was during the Green-Yellow laps- but after that I could It seemed to me like he spent most of the race in the teens and I remember at one point finding that he was being scored 27th and saying to my mom “Twenty-freakin-seventh?? What the hell happened to Stewart?” to which she just shrugged and kinda rolled her eyes.  I do get a little wrapped up in my NASCAR races.  Anyway towards the end of the race my dad came in wearing his 14 hat proudly and asked where Stewart was.   I said I wasn’t sure…because some pitting had just taken place and then it seemed like to me- someone turned Tony on er woke Tony up and told him it was the end of the race because it seemed to me suddenly like he was flying towards the front of the field.  What I didn’t realize was that Tony was one of the cars that took fresh tires that last pit stop. (Why didn’t I know that FoxSports? Why?).  It wasn’t long until Ryan (who had been running top ten most if not all of the day) had a mirror full of Tony.  I said to my dad “I wonder if it makes Ryan a little nervous to have his BOSS driving right behind him like that?” My dad said probably not…but think about it- if my boss decided for whatever reason to sit in my office and watch me do one of the myriad of things I do I would worry that he was critiquing me and my style…even though I think I am damn good at what I do I would worry that he would find flaw in what I was doing.

Tony moves into second and I was really hoping that he would catch up to Kyle- but there was NO catching Kyle- he was on fire and nearly a quarter to half a lap ahead of of Tony.  Kyle took the checkered flag on his birthday- only the second driver to ever do that (the first being Cale Yarborough).  Tony’s late race charge and second place finish gained him a spot in the points- he now sits in third- a mere 39 points out of the lead.  Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman also had a top five finish- finishing in fourth and bringing the US. ARMY Impala into the 10 position in the points standings.

Notes on Richmond:

  • Small business owners: Office Depot Racing wants to give you a $14,000 small business makeover, your logo on Tony Stewart’s #14 Stewart Haas Racing Impala and a VIP Weekend at a NASCAR race. Go here to enter your business now (contest is open now thorugh May 31st)!  I wish I had a small business just fo the the VIP weekend…let alone the money and the name on the car!!
  • Have you seen the World’s Worst Commute Quaker State promotion? About how if you think you have the world’s worse commute you send in a video as to why and I the prize is getting driven to work by Jimmie Johsnon (I think you get some VIP race tickets too).  I would love to have any of the drivers drive me to work? But I have probably the EASIEST commute…ixnay that- my mom has the easiest one- she could walk since she only works about a block away from her house…I drive 15-20 minutes…over a river, through ag fields (not actually through the fields—there is an actual road), and then I am there.  Seriously the worst thing he would have to deal with on my commute would probably be a tractor towing discing rings or something on the side of the road.  So I can’t win that…do you think I could convince them that my commute is to Vegas?  While I do drive to Vegas often (I think my coworkers think I am some sort of big time gambler) I have never been driven there by anyone but me and it’s a pretty long (500 miles door to door) boring and lonely drive let me tell you…
  • Also it just came to me…I assume he would be driving you in your car? Because how else would you get back home? Unless he is gonna stay there for 8 hours while I work (He is welcome to – I even have an extra chair in my office and our break room is AWESOME -you can see the ocean from it plus it is a college campus so if he got bored he could just wander around the campus chatting up people) and then drive me home?
  • Now that we are talking about commercials- you know who can almost always make me laugh? Michael Waltrip.  And when you pair him up with Ron Capps- it’s even better. I love the Napa commercials! The pictionary one is laughs- “You ARE a good drawer”. However the Toyota Autograph Seeker commercial is hilarious too…the one with the little flying robots looking for autographs for the fans…and one approaches Michael Waltrip? If you listen carefully one of the crew guys yells “Watch Out It Has A Pen!” right before Michael sprays it with the extinguisher. That makes me laugh too.
  • I could probably be coaxed very easily to talk about this in another post…but for now all I will say is Amy from Salinas, CA says thanks to Tony Stewart and especially officedepotracing.com.
  • Check out this enthusiastic post about Darlington from TC at The NASCAR INSIDERS. It got me excited about Darlington, and it’s only Monday!

Next Saturday Night? The Southern 500 at Darlington, SC.