A great Rutledge at Large piece featuring Elliott Sadler and Habitat for Humanity as well as Tony Stewart and the National Backpack Program.
Well I don’t have much to day about the race from Saturday evening. Tony qualified 15th for the race at Richmond. His car seemed to start off really strong as he managed to work his way up to third at one point. Then he just started falling back further and further. Unfortunately I was not listening to his radio communications and I am unsure as to why he had this drop…I assume it was poor handling that they were chasing.
Tony finished 16th, one lap down to race winner Denny Hamlin. However- it doesn’t really matter because Richmond was the last race of the “regular” season for NASCAR. Now it get’s stressful for us fans. Now it’s the playoffs.
Tony is seeded 6th in the Chase fifty points behind chase leader Denny Hamlin.
Notes About Richmond:
- I was surprised that since the Richmond race fell on Patriot’s day this year that there wasn’t more patriot paint schemes ran. I think I saw maybe two (Jeff Gordon and Kevin Conway). I don’t count Ryan Newman’s Army paint scheme- as it was the usual Army paint scheme he runs…but if you want to count it-that is 3.
- I was saddened to hear that Tony Stewart’s grandfather passed away the morning of the race. I was dismayed when one of the journalists (Lee Spencer) asked Tony to “reflect” on it at the post race presser all the chase drivers went through. DISMAYED. Why don’t you rub some more salt into that wound there? Tony handled the question with the utmost professionalism…but still I am dismayed it was even brought up. (Still shaking my head at that one).
The Chase begins Sunday September 19th at Louden, NH. GO TONY GO!
Want to congratulate Tony on his Atlanta victory? Or wish him luck at Richmond? Tony is scheduled to do an appearance at the Office Depot store in Glen Allen Virginia on Thursday September 9th 2010. Stewart will greet fans and sign autographs starting at 4:45pm local time at the Office Depot located at 9700 West Broad Street (at W. Broad & Stillman Pkwy) in Glen Allen. Wristbands are required, with distribution limited to the first 350 customers (one per person). Wristbands will be available at Office Depot when it opens at 9:00am on the day of the event. Fans with a wristband must be in line no later than 5:15pm local time to receive an autograph. As always, there is one autograph per wristband.
So how excited was I that Tony won? Very! WHOO HOO!
Tony and Darian seemed to both be in a good mood before they took even one green flag lap- judging by their radio banter. Darian said something about buying Tony a little pool if he brought back a trophy. Of course I am envisioning Tony sitting in a kiddie pool but that is probably because I have small nephews who love their kiddie pool on a hot day.
As I was watching, when Tony took the lead the first time I thought to myself…YEY five points! Then he kept leading and leading. There would be some swapping back and forth here and there with Denny or Carl but then I was thinking Hey- we might get 5 more points for leading the MOST laps here. It really wasn’t until the last 10 laps or so that I starting thinking…DAMN we have been DOMINATE ALL NIGHT and that is when I start worrying about something going WRONG!
It seemed that the 14 pit crew was ON IT all night (ok they had ONE bad stop- but it wasn’t even THAT bad). Tony’s only complaint pit-wise was that he was having trouble seeing his stall- but they figured that out- and between Darian counting him down into his pitstall and his dad Nelson waving a flashlight at him he was able to find it much easier on subsequent stops.
It warmed my heart to see the #14 car sooo dominate Sunday night. I loved it and hope that there is only more of that on the horizon!!
Anyway Congrats to Tony Stewart and Office Depot and all the other sponsors for their win at Atlanta
Tony is now 4th in the series standings and locked into the chase (shwew).
So since Tony won- there are a couple ways you too can win:
Win a Sunoco Checkered Flag autographed by race winner Tony Stewart here from SpeedTV.
You can bid on the Old Spice towel Tony used in Victory Lane here (proceeds to benefit The Tony Stewart Foundation).
You can win one of 14 Office Depot Racing autographed hats here at Office Depot Racing’s 14 for 14 Contest.
I celebrated Tony’s win yesterday with a trip to Office Depot- it’s one of my favorite stores anyway. BUT they didn’t have what I was looking for in stock yet but they told me it’s coming September 12th so I will be back I promise.
Tony Stewart will be at the Office Depot located at 2625 Piedmont Road (Buckhead Crossing Shopping Center) in Atlanta, GA on September 2nd. He will be doing a donation of 4000 book backs as part of the the Office Depot Foundation National Backpack Program- these book bags will be filled with school supplies and given to children and local children’s organizations in an effort to help children start their school year off right.
In addition to doing the presention of the book bags, Tony Stewart will be signing 350 autographs for fans starting at 4:45 local time. Wristbands are required for the autograph session and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the Piedmont Road Office Depot store in Atlanta, GA beginning at 8:00 a.m. local time on the day of the event only (Thursday, September 2). Fans with a wristband must be in line no later than 5:15 p.m. local time to receive an autograph. There will also be an #14 Office Depot show car at the event.
These are great events- and very fun. I urge you to attend if you are in the Atlanta area.
Bristol- I like you. I really really do. But damn- why did you have to be so mean to Tony on Saturday night? Tony qualified strong- a 4th place starting position. And at the begining of the race he was doing so well. He even led for a lap or two (five points right there). I was optimistic at the beginning!
Then it all went to hell in a hand basket. First David Ragan spun. Tony slowed up on his sponsors advice as to not hit Ragan who was sitting in the middle of the track and sliding ever so slowly towards the infield. Ragan looked like a sitting duck. I was worried that it could get ugly for Ragan. Apparently he was not the one I needed to be worrying about as Stewart ended up with the worse of that deal when Tony Raines smacked him in the right rear as Stewart was slowing to avoid Ragan. It looked ugly- parts sticking out from the car. It took him two trips to pit road for the crew to fix up the damage but Stewart was able to stay on the lead lap- he was 25 or 26 but still on the lead lap (I am pretty sure that he was the last car on the lead lap actually).
Understandably the car wasn’t handling as well as it was pre-accident…and what might have even been a salvageable evening for Stewart turned to crap when Stewart smacked the wall pretty hard because the car was looser than a caboose. Then he had a tire start to go down and was forced to pit under green- and lost three laps changing only right side tires (Bristol is that small and the race leaders were running that fast). He would not come up any farther and unfortunately finished 27th- 6 laps down. Stewart would lose two positions in the points standing and is now 6th behind points leader Kevin Harvick. Race winner was Kyle Busch who completed the first ever trifecta- winning three series events in a single weekend.
Notes About Bristol:
- When Tony got the 4th starting position in qualifying, the StewartHaasRacing twitter account claimed it was his second consecutive STEWART POLE…that being the highest qualifying position not required to do after qualifying media.
- Speaking of media…what does Jeff Gluck have against Tony Stewart anyway? He made a snide twitter comment after Tony’s first incident at Bristol “Fortunately for Tony Stewart, he won’t have to visit the media center tonight. Fortunate for the media, too.” He always has something rude to say about Tony. It riles me up.
- Best National Anthem of the season so far. I am just saying…maybe they should get away from the weird acts and go for the kids more often.
- Pre hell in a handbasket radio was interesting. Tony instructed them to calm him down if he got riled up during the race during his pre-race peptalk.
- After the contact with Ragan but before he had a tire come apart on him Tony got riled up about something and Darian told him to “chill out.” That cracked me up because when I am ramped up and someone says that to me? It just riles me up more.
- Post hell in a handbasket radio was pretty depressing. Stewart didn’t say hardly anything. Neither did Darian…mostly it was his spotter Bob saying things like “Clear.” And “The x car has a hole if you need it.”
Next weekend is an off weekend for the Cup Drivers.
I will be the first to admit that I was frustrated with the end result of the race at Michigan on Sunday. On the one hand it was GREAT to see the #14 car out there running in the front and leading a nice slug of laps (I think Tony lead a total of 36 laps or something like that). It was encouraging and GREAT. What was disheartening was the the debris caution…and watching everyone pit but Tony and Kevin Harvick. Tony must have thought so too because he came on the radio and said “We’re in big trouble here” to which Darian Grubb tried to be the cheerleader and tell Tony it would be ok. Unfortunately though he started falling back and finished 6th. Another GREAT top ten finish- BUT it was sad to see him running so strong but then fall off like that. However, what made it a little sweeter? Was that Tony did advance FOUR spots in the race for the chase and is now fourth in the points standings. That does make ME feel a little better.
Notes about Michigan:
- The Ryan Newman/Joey Logano dust up…my take? It was one of those racing deals. I don’t think Joey intentionally got into Ryan- he looked really loose to me. They are out there to RACE and I don’t think that either one wanted to give in to the other- and you know what? That is RACING. I think that Ryan has some frustrations that he took out on Joey after the race. He is only human. Do I think that either of them should get fined? No. I think that they should call it good and let it go. Now if we get to Bristol or something and there is some retaliation ON TRACK? Then we can talk about NASCAR getting involved.
- By far the best tweet of the race? Was right after Ryan spun from that aforementioned contact with Joey Logano when she said ” Thanks Joey Lagano….maybe I should go put my firesuit on!” (@KrissieNewman).
- Race winner was Kevin Harvick and he also locked his position in the chase. Congratulations Kevin.
- Bonus Caption Photo will be coming. I found a great one but I am waiting for permission to use it.
Tony’s helmets fascinate me. I love the different designs he has (I believe they are painted by Justin Beam in Las Vegas) and I would love to know how many different helmets he has in a season. Anyway- a helmet from a favorite driver can be a coveted addition to any race fan’s collection. Well, Smoke fans, here is your chance to bid on the helmet or the firesuit of Tony Stewart- all to support a great cause. They are RACE USED at the recent Chicagoland race where Stewart ran the BACK-TO-SCHOOL Office Depot paint scheme. Both the helmet and the firesuit go along with that special BACK-TO-SCHOOL paint scheme and would be an awesome additon to any collection.
Both items, auctioned separately, will be autographed by Tony Stewart himself. Proceeds from the auction will go to support the Office Depot Foundation’s work in the National Backpack Program that provides backpacks full of school supplies to children in need across the county. It’s a program that Stewart has been working with since his sponsorship with Office Depot began last year:
“It was a lot of fun to have the special back-to-school paint scheme on my No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy earlier this summer, and I’m very proud to partner with the Office Depot Foundation on its National Backpack Program,” Stewart said. “I can tell you from experience how rewarding it is to see the look on these kids’ faces when they get a new backpack – it’s an automatic boost of confidence for them and helps them feel ready to take on the new school year just like everybody else. I hope fans will help support this awesome program by participating in the online auction.”
The auction is only running from NOW until August 23rd, 2010 so get your bids in now by visiting the auction site at the Office Depot Racing website.