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Remember when I was recapping the DOVER race early this week and I mentioned off-handedly that I had read Tony’s transcript from the Friday media session and I deemed him “grumpy”? Well my turn to be “grumpy” was this last Thursday.  It was a day long event and I will spare you most of the details but here are some highlights just to give you an idea as to some of the grump-making:

  • Woke up after a full night’s sleep even more tired then when I went to bed. Why did I feel so unrested? I had a night FULL of vivid yet fairly stupid dreams.
  • Someone ate one of my lunches and my yogurts out of the work fridge.
  • I locked myself out of my office. Again.
  • I spilled a nearly full bottle of water all over my desk- including on some paperwork.
  • My keyless entry clicker thing that unlocks and locks my car? Decided not to work temporarily. It’s only a year and a half old or so- seriously no reason to not work.

Anyway I could lengthen the list but that gives you a small snippet into why I happened to be on the grumpy side on Thursday. I am pretty sure if you had run across me out and about on Thursday you would have been able to take just one look at me and know that you should probably just steer clear.  I envision myself looking like a cartoon character with a distinct and pronounced frown and a dark cloud following me and maybe even a little steam coming off my head. But I digress.

Needless to say- someone would probably say I could have used a serious attitude adjustment. And they wouldn’t have been too far from the truth.  And that evening I got that attitude adjustment I needed.  It was two part. Part one was chatting with BFF-M at the end of the day. That is always a nice little pick me up.

The other was from a song. A Shooter Jennings song to be exact.  Now I have to tell you that I really have no experience listening to Shooter Jennings but I recently aquired one of his CDs to review for Amazon.  And it happened to be in the care on the way home and it just happened on Manifesto No. 1. And it was like an instant attitude adjustment. I have never heard the song before but I LOVED it. So here is a live version on Youtube. I hope you like it too.

I have mentioned this a lot but I wanted to revisit it again. A lot of drivers have charitable foundations that do great things that are not only fun for fans but help capitalize on the love of their fans for the greater good.

Here are three great examples of things coming up (of course these are all Tony Stewart Related):

The Prelude To The Dream.  I talked about the Prelude A WHOLE LOT last season. I haven’t been doing it quite as much this season. Do I think anything has changed? NO! I am still GREATLY looking forward to the race on Wednesday. One day I will go in person.  What is so great about this race? Let me tell you: Lots of Big Name Drivers (Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Kasey Kahne, Ron Capps (NHRA), Cruz Pedregon (NHRA), Ray Evernham, Bill Elliot, are just a few.  ON DIRT. For no money, no points…just a trophy and bragging rights. I have ordered it on PPV for the last three years and have NEVER been disappointed. The cause this year are four charities that support injured and fallen military heroes- all proceeds go to these four charities. The goal this year? A million dollars.  If you can afford it- check out the PPV race (Channel 125 for DirecTV customers, for others check your listings. THIS IS THIS WEDNESDAY.

Invest N Vests. A collaborative effort between the Tony Stewart Foundation and The Greg Biffle Foundation to raise funds for to outfit 192 K-9 officers with bullet and knife resistant vests.  For each $10.00 donation fans are entered for a chance to win 25 percent of the pot (the rest going to www.vest4k9.com).  At this writing the pot is currently at $14,680.00.  The drawing is on Wednesday June 16th. Both the Tony Stewart Foundation and The Greg Biffle Foundation are committed to animal causes.

Smoke’s Camaro. Capitalizing on the love of cars many NASCAR fans have The Tony Stewart Foundation is having a raffle of a 2010 Camaro. Raffle tickets are limited (currently there are only 5,926 left out of 6014 available raffle tickets).   The winner not only wins Tony’s 2010 Chevrolet Camaro (in Victory Red), but they win a trip for two to Charlotte, NC and a personal tour of the Stewart-Haas Racing Shop as well as a lunch where Tony will present you with the keys himself (you also get money to help offset the cost of fees, licensing and taxes). Buy your raffle ticket early to also be included in the running for early bird prizes as well.  Camaro drawing is on October 5th, 2009. Proceeds raised by raffle will go directly to the Tony Stewart Foundation to provide funding for children, animals and injured drivers in need.

I am surprised I didn’t get the cops called on me this Sunday during the last 20 laps or so of the Autism Speaks 400 race at Dover.  I was watching alone for a change and when Tony was chasing Biffle down, passing Biffle, and then working that track to make his car seem as wide as possible when Jimmie was doing the same to him, I was screaming. And standing about two feet infront of the television- as if my mere proximity to the tube and yelling my cheers that loudly would somehow propell that 14 car on my voice alone.  Because I was alone I wasn’t shy about being LOUD and PROUD in my rooting for Tony and Team. And because I was alone I admit that I may have had a few choice words for Jimmie Johnson when he passed Tony (even though I actually kinda like Jimmie) that didn’t get filtered out by my internal sesor when I watch with other people.

Team Office Depot/Old Spice didn’t have the most stellar first practice or qualifying run on Friday so honestly I wasn’t sure it was going to be the best weekend for us.  Then I made the mistake of reading the transcript from Tony’s Friday media session- which is something I almost never do- and he just seemed rather grumpy and overly concerned about his car.  Yet another reason to think that Dover would not be a great weekend for Team Office Depot/Old Spice. I was reassured a bit on Saturday morning when I caught glimpses of the last two practices- to see that Tony’s car seemed to be picking it up.

Qualifying 31st, Tony spent most of the race mired in heavy traffic but working his way up the field slowly but surely.  Not having the best of pit stalls I think kind of messed him up in the pits and he often lost one or two spots during a stop.  Tony eventually worked his way into the top ten- running consistently at about 8th or so.  Then there was a lucky debris caution. Darian called Tony in at the last minute for two tires. And because Team Office Depot/Old Spice only took two tires, they found themselves slowly hunting down race leader (at the time) Greg Biffle- and eventually catching him. They raced hard for awhile and Stewart eventually become the race leader.  Unfortunately Jimmie Johnson was also moving up the field- and Jimmie was on four fresh tires.  Tony held Jimmie off as long as he could- but Jimmie eventually got around Tony with two laps to go and never looked back.  Tony came in second at Dover. Partly because of his second place finish and also because of Jeff Gordon’s inability to get either of his laps back, Stewart and Team Office Depot/Old Spice left Dover first in the points, with Jeff Gordon a mere 46 points behind him. Stewart-Haas teamate Ryan Newman also had yet another top ten finish (way to go RYAN!!) and moved up two spots in the points and is now up to fifth.

Notes on Dover:

  • This race had too many debris cautions for my taste. People- if your race car has parts falling off of it- pull into the pits! That is my PSA for Dover.
  • I am kind of glad its the end of the Fox coverage because DW kind of pissed me off with an offhanded comment he made regarding drivers not having original thoughts during the preshow (in reference to Kyle Busch’s comment about Dale Jr.)
  • Well judging by the results this weekend- the crew chief switch on the #88 seems to at least done SOME good. Jr finished 12th. Not bad.  Still- Junior seemed down in his afterrace interview. As a side note, my friend says Dale Jr. reminds her of Jeff Boomhauer when he talks.
  • As mentioned by Kyle Busch during the preshow- don’t forget to go to RealChocolate.com to try for your chance at a free Mars product this friday. (Thanks Kyle!)
  • *Technically most NASCAR fans would call Dover race 13 on the schedule because for some unknown reason they don’t count the All-Star race (yeah I know you don’t get points…but you get a million bucks and a cool ring? What more do you want?).

Next weekend the race is at Pocono (aka the Evil Little Triangle). Also don’t forget race fans that NASCAR coverage switches to TNT this weekend.

This last long drawn out race weekend was the first weekend I have personally used DirecTV’s HOT PASS (It’s free this season- check channel 795, 796, 797 and 798 to find out the drivers for the week). Why did it take me 13 races into the season to check it out (well really only 12 because they didn’t bother to even carry the All-Star Race)? Well because it was the first race TONY was one of the drivers.  I was excited to use the new HOT PASS mostly because I haven’t really had a chance to actually hear with my own little ears what the group sounded like on the radio. Similarities and differences between this spotter/crew chief/driver combo and what Tony had before with Zippy and Mark was what I was really most curious about.

Well I can only say that I was disappointed in this new incarnation of HotPass.  Unfortunately I was disappointed in what I saw. The first thing that disappointed me was my inability to control the audio.  I could hear the team radio but it was laid over the audio of the national broadcast. So most of the time when Team Office Depot was conferring on the radio it was extremely hard to hear because of the national broadcast announcers.  Previous incarnations of HotPass gave users the ability to cycle through three different audio packages…those being: National Broadcast, Team Radio, and HOT PASS broadcast (which were broadcasters assigned to each Hot Pass Driver).

Another thing I was disappointed with was the camera views seemed to be having some major issues and would often actually go completely black sometimes.  I have a feeling that this might have been due to weather and moisture in the car’s on board equipment than anything else though. So I probably can’t fault DirecTV with that one.

I can fault them with one of my biggest complaints all along and that has been the censorship of the team radio feed. If I was offended by the possibility of cursing on the radio it is something I wouldn’t listen to.  My issue is that they are a bit…bleep happy at DirecTV.  So instead of cutting out just the “bad” word…they cut out the whole freaking conversation.

For instance.  This was a bit of Tony’s radio transmission on Monday (taken from an article on NASCAR.COM because I couldn’t hear it) in regards to some on-track issues with David Reutimann:

“Go tell that ignorant [expletive] that this isn’t the Nationwide Series and if he holds me up like that again, he’ll beat the traffic on the way home,” Stewart told his spotter over the radio. “I love him to death, but I’m not going to [expletive] with him like that again.”

This is what I heard on the Hot Pass Audio:

“Go tell that….(dead air)”

Yeah that is ALL I heard. I don’t know if the spotter replied or not because I didn’t hear that either.  I honestly couldn’t tell much from what I actually heard- except I could tell by the tone of his voice that Tony was …agitated. Now I can’t say that I am paying for the HOT PASS so I want to hear all the audio- not what DirecTV wants me to hear…because HOT PASS is free. But I will say this I WOULD NOT PAY for this current incarnation of HOTPASS.  There are only 4 drivers (the first year I used HOT PASS there were five). The selection this season almost never has Tony as a featured driver. There is no way to control which audio feed I am hearing. AND THEY ARE STILL CENSORING THE RADIO feed.

By censoring the driver radio feeds I think that it is censoring what is going on in the car.  When Tony gets “wound up” about something, if I can hear the feed- I know what’s going on. In this case, he obviously felt like the driver in question above was holding him up- racing him too hard too early. He was frustrated. I can get that from the full feed. From the HOT PASS feed all I get is that he is upset about something but what I don’t know. Is he upset with a driver? Did something go wrong on a pit stop? Did his wheel just fly off? Is he having visibility problems? What is going on??

I am a big girl. Let me decide what I want to hear. If it offends me, I will turn it off.  If they are worried about children happening into the feed- maybe make the team feed lockable or something so that a parent has to unlock the feature for it to work. Whatever- just give me my driver’s radio feeds warts and all.

***Updated***

I will say, however, one of the best things with being able to hear Tony and his crew on DirecTV is when he went four wide at one point in an effort to pass I could hear his spotter go “Um- 4 wide, 4 wide you have the bottom” then after that resolved itself I got to hear Tony giggle and say “That’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.”

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!!!