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  • Ok- as a race fan I am going to make a confession to you. My friend and I discussed this during our respective lunch breaks on Thursday and we are both equally confused.  I do not understand HOW the field is set at Daytona.  I mean I understand that the first row is set on qualifying day. And some but not all Go-or-Go homers are locked in the field on time.  Then there are the Gatorade Duels.  Where the field is split in two 60 lap heat races. But from there I do not understand how the field is then set.  At least I am not the only one… Tony Stewart doesn’t understand either!
  • Speaking of Tony,  let’s talk about Stewart-Haas Racing for a minute.  I am just wondering if the people who thought they wouldn’t be competitive out of the box are eating crow right now? I could be biased since Tony is my driver but Stewart-Haas Racing seem pretty damn strong to me. Stewart did well in the Shootout.  Both Tony AND Ryan did well in on Pole day. Tony did awesome in the Duels. Ryan seemed pretty solid in his duel as well until take out by Ruet.
  • Email exchange with my friend regarding Ryan Newman’s crash during the second Duel:
    • Me: Do you think “Tony the Owner” will have a talk with Ryan Newman about getting pissed at Reutimann or will “Tony the Owner” understand because of his experience as “Tony the Driver”.  AND will “Tony the Owner” be pissed at Reutimann for wrecking “his” race car? All things to think about.
    • Her: Tony the Owner”  will prob manslap* Newman and buy him a beer- lol!
  • I may be a Tony fan but I was glad to see Jeff Gordon have a good finish.  And for the record? I like his new paint scheme this year.
  • Speaking of paint schemes. I have decided officially I like the Office Depot paint scheme better than the Old Spice paint scheme.
  • Raygan Swan’s Splash N Go article this week on NASCAR.COM earlier this week was a silly guide to fans.  I think she was trying to be tongue in cheek- however she tells fansLast, get your supplies. Umbrellas for the Fontana, Calif.” However I do not recommend this….if you are heading towards Fontana FYI- Umbrellas are not allowed at the track in Fontana (or in Vegas) unless they have changed the track rules from last season!

Dear DirecTV- AHHHH now you have really made me mad. After having hotpass for two years now- you decide to drop it? THAT REALLY SUCKS!  I greatly miss being able to hear what is going on in Tony’s car during the race. DAMN YOU!  I bet you still have the other sport packages! Why did NASCAR have to be cut? —Disgruntled, AMY  PS. Don’t try to tell me to get that NASCAR.COM thing where I can hear the audio…doesn’t work for me because I have dial up…AND my computer is not in the same room as my TV.

Dear QVC- You have angered me too!  How? Well first there is a big deal made about the FOR RACE FANS ONLY show that is starting off this season with Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart as guests. So I dvr it- and hear wonderful things about it.  I was really looking forward to getting some glimpses of the Stewart Haas Racing shop. I go to watch said DVR and end up with two hours of an electronics showcase. MAJOR FAIL, QVC! MAJOR!  Your in disgruntlement- AMY PS. Don’t try to make up for it by showing me all the cool diecasts of Tony’s that I can’t afford.


*-manslap is defined by my friend and I by that strong shoulder (or sometimes back) pat/slap that men give each other. Usually in a WAY TO GO kind of way. Not to be confused with the “good game” butt slap.

We talked advertising yesterday, so let’s talk merchandise today.  One of the big issues a fan like me will have when a driver switches teams (or becomes an owner/driver) is the need to suddenly replace all of your existing merchandise.  The Stewart-Haas racing switch is hard for me because merchandise is slow to come out which means my car is fairly naked (my 20 sticker in the window disappeared sometime last November and I am still using my 20 license plate frame because I haven’t gotten my 14 one yet).  I am however happily mousing on my new Tony Stewart mouse pad. (Yes I use a mouse pad because my desk at work is too shiny for the optical mouse and if I don’t use one my pointer dances all over my desktop).
Anyway…I have never been a collector of diecasts.  I have a couple of the (cheap) Winner’s Circle brand cars…because they are cheap and available at my favorite store (Target) right of the shelf.  However- I decided that since Tony was changing numbers/sponsors I would look into a diecast or two. Knowing that Tony has two primary sponsors, I figured I would find two different cars. The Office Depot Paint Scheme:
Office Depot Paint Scheme

And the Old Spice Paint Scheme:

Old Spice Paint Scheme

However- there already is a 14 with a Smoke paint scheme:

Smoke Paint Scheme

And a 14 with the Burger King paint scheme (Tony will be sponsored by Burger King for two races):

Burger King 14 paint scheme

Yeah…and Daytona hasn’t even happened yet. This is the exact reason WHY I do not collect diecasts. Already there are 4 different paint schemes and countless others in the work. These high quality ones can run anywhere from 69.99 to 89.99 a piece and that my friends is an obsession I just can NOT afford- bad economy or good.

I decided against one of the big dough diecasts only because I couldn’t decide. Part of me wants one of the traditional paint schemes while another part of me screams very loudly that the Smoke Paint Sheme is REALLY COOL while a third part of me thinks that since the Burger King paint scheme is only going to be used for two races that would be the one to get. Too many choices makes my head spin around and start to smoke (no pun intended) so to simplify it for myself I said “Self you really can’t justify that much on a toy car that will just sit on a shelf.”  My “self” is no fun and won’t let me collect diecasts.

Knowing my love of all things office supply, my father asked if I wanted to ride to Office Max with him on the day of the Bud Shootout.  I looked at him and said “Sorry, I can not shop there. I have to shop at Office Depot now.”  My dad just gave me a funny look and continued on with his trip to the store without me…not realizing completely what I was talking about.  Of course it probably confused him a little more when I yelled out after him as he got in his pickup “Remember…Office Depot is the official office supply store of NASCAR!”  Before, as a fan, it was extremely easy for me to be loyal to Tony’s sponsor Home Depot- because it was the only home improvement warehouse in town. We do not have a Lowe’s.  The closest Lowe’s is over 30 miles away in a different county.  We have local chain hardware stores but nothing else that can be in the same league with Home Depot. Our town is riddled with office supply stores however. Besides Office Depot we have an Office Max and the town I work in has a Staples. You all know I love the office supply stores…throw me in a room with pens and post-its on sale and I am a happy girl. So it will be hard to limit myself to Office Depot.

With Tony’s new major sponsorships will come new advertisements.  Now my friend mentioned seeing one already but somehow I missed it.  Anyway…in my head I have a couple of really good commercials…one for office depot and one for old spice (the sponsors that are basically splitting major sponsorship on the #14 Stewart-Haas Impala).  Now I am no advertising executive but I know what I would like to see…what would make me chuckle.  Which is what I love in a commercial;  a good chuckle. The Toyota Fan Controller commercial with Tony and Zippy, for instance, made me laugh every single time I saw it.  I dunno something about ZIPPY RUN FOR YOUR LIFE made me laugh out loud.  It could be that I have an odd sense of humor but it literally made me laugh each time.  Another good Tony commercial was the one with the little remote control cars- where all the coke drivers are racing them around a garage and Tony wins and then Kevin Harvicks crew member runs over Tony’s little rc car.  Aww…Sorry About Your Little Car Tony. Again…good stuff.  Anyway I am digressing immensely.

What you might not realize is that Tony has also made a deal with Burger King for a two race sponsorship, and part of that deal includes that Burger King will be a food service provider at his race track (Eldora Speedway). Another part of this deal also includes commercials.  The thought of this frightens me only because I have an innate fear of THE KING. There is something about his plastic frozen expressioned face and the creepy things that he does…like stare into peoples windows, frollick with animals, sleep in fields with cows? THE KING almost starts being stalkerish.  THE KING creeps me out and I really don’t think I would like it too much to see Tony frollicking with the THE KING.  Or I am evisioning a race with Tony and The King…where there THE KING is in a firesuit.  Or even worse…a plastic faced, frozen-expressioned Tony Stewart. Now I am starting to give myself the willies.  The only commercial with THE KING and Tony that might possibly be acceptable would be if Tony runs him over or something. It would be good if the commericial could omit THE KING completely.  How about a commerical with Tony and Whopper Jr.  I love the commerical when Whopper Jr. tells his Dad (The Whopper) that he has his head in his bun.  That one totally passes the chuckle test.

Ahhh do you hear the sound of the engines?  I do and they sound good.  Saturday was the day I was waiting for: The Bud Shootout.  Originally I thought I was going to have to boycott the shootout because the new rules initially left Tony Stewart out of the shootout because he switched from Toyota to Chevy for this season.  But luckily the wildcard system allowed Tony into the Shootout, with new teammate Ryan Newman sitting on his pitbox.  Tony Stewart started the shootout in 6th position and he was all over the track- everywhere from last to even leading for a few laps towards the end of the first segment.  I will say that one of the most incredible jobs driving during that first segment and possibly during the whole race has to go to Jeff Gordon for winding his way through that first wreck. The wreck that took out rookie drivers Joey Logano and Scott Speed.

Stewart’s biggest complaint was that his car was too tight and seemed to struggle during most of the second segment of the race.  During the very last caution he took a gamble on a pit stop and ended up lining up 8th for the green-white checker finish.  I admit I questioned the pitstop but apparently the car wasn’t too his liking (DAMN I MISS MY HOTPASS).   Due to the wreck that ended the race, Tony lucked out and ended up third because the accident tangled up drivers in third through 7th position.

It was my first glimpse of Team Office Depot and they seemed to be right on.  Pit stops looked nice and clean and Tony seemed fairly calm despite having a car that was all over the place. It was a good finish in typical NASCAR style-part effort part luck.  Seeing Team Office Depot in action makes me even more excited for the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

And speaking of the Daytona 500 I want to also talk a little bit about Pole day on Sunday.  First off I was esctatic to see Ryan Newman come out of the Stewart Haas stables so strong and nearly make the first row of the 500. I think that says a lot for the Army team.  However- for some reason I thought Tony’s car was the one who was in the top 35 in owner points not Ryans- so that surprised me a little bit that Tony was out there trying to qualify on time (although it makes sense if I think about it considering he would have the past champion’s provisional to fall back on if needed). However this makes for a VERY nervous Amy during qualifying. I didn’t watch all of it but luckily I was able to catch the bits and pieces I needed- including Tony’s run.  During Tony’s run I was actually pleasantly surprised. While he didn’t grab the pole or even get a top five – he did manage a top ten and was able to lock into the field on time and not have to worry about falling back on the past champion provisional.  I know that I read somewhere that Darian Grubb wants to help Tony focus on qualifying better and I think he is off to a great start.

Random NASCAR notes for the week:

  • There are so many changes of drivers and sponsors this season that it is taking me a long time to wrap my head around them all. It seems to me that the one I am having the hardest time remembering is Casey Mears being in the Jack Daniels 07 car.  And I can’t even find Clint Bowyer in that Cheerios car.
  • Speaking of can’t find a car…Tony’s new car too closely resembles Kasey Kahnes car to me. During the shootout I would really have to squint to tell who was who. I have a feeling that the Vegas race is gonna be an experience with me often losing Tony and mistaking him for Kasey Kahne and vice versa. At least until I get my Team 14 eyes trained.
  • Scott Speed.  I hate to say it but I don’t really like him.  He acted like a goof during the National Anthem, he acted like a goof giving his post-accident interview.  He just is a bit too goofy for me.
  • Way to go Travis Kvapil who had an awesome qualifying run and was also able to lock himself into the 500 on speed. Good Job. If you have been reading for any length of time you know that while I love Tony- I am also a strong supporter of Kvapil because I think he has great talent.
  • How embarrassing it must have been being Joey Logano during the Bud Shootout Draw.  Because the starting positions are disguised in Budweiser bottles and because he is only 18 he had to be accompanied by his crew chief Greg Zipadelli who actually had to draw for him.  He was the only driver who did not pick their own bottle.   I will say that I do applaud it though since Logano is technically underage.

Coming Soon: The Tony Stewart Advertisement Machine and Why I Don’t Collect DieCasts

Tomorrow is a lot of things: Its my mom’s birthday,  the end of the NASCAR 2008 season, it’s the day we will find out if the Cup Champion will be Jimmie Johnson or Carl Edwards.  Tomorrow will be Tony Stewart’s last race with Joe Gibbs Racing, with sponsor Home Depot and with crew chief Greg Zipadelli.

Usually by this point in the season I am chomping at the bit for it to be over.  I love my NASCAR but its a LONG season and even I am ready for a little teensy break.  A couple weeks will pass and I will be bored and ready for Speedweeks in Daytona in February even before Christmas has arrived. I will find myself searching for something NASCAR related on SPEED just to have something to watch. My visits to Nascar.com and other racing sites I frequent will go way up as I scour for information on the season to come.

This season is a little different though- if possible I would have grabbed onto the ankles of this season and slowed it down and maybe made it last just a little longer.  I don’t like change and I don’t like goodbyes. And this season’s finale has both for me. So I wanted to prolong the season- so that I didn’t have to think about it and could live in my blissful state of denial. Tony not being in home depot orange? Tony not being told “Wheels straight, put on the brakes” by Greg Zipadelli at the beginning of every pitstop? That was just something I couldn’t or didn’t want to wrap my brain around.

After tomorrows race here will be no more of that. And it makes me a little melancholy.  What’s funny is I spent most of my week packing up my office- which I have decorated with a lot of Stewart memorabilia….it’s almost ironic.  What’s even more ironic? My new office number is 14 just like Tony’s new car number.

I may be a tad melancholy, however a bigger part of me is excited too.  It’s sad and exciting both (I think I am stealing something Trixie said in my comments not too long ago). While I will be the first to admit that initially the whole “stewart-haas thing” as I called it horrified me…after hearing Tony talk about it- I got excited for him. Its something that he is excited about and that excitment shows and is contagious to an extent. I am excited for next season and for Stewart-Haas racing in general. It will be fun to watch it grow into a cohesive and successful team. So it is something I am looking forward to already for next season.

Still..tomorrow will be a little sad:

Tony Waves---from homedepotracing.com

Tony Waves---from homedepotracing.com

File this one in the “WHAT THE???” category. This was under the WALLPAPERS section at homedepotracing.com today from the Charlotte race. Is it some kind of hazing***? A bizarre right of passage at Charlotte? Crazed fans? Or people with too much time on their hands?
Sign Says: Im Tired Of Winning, Going To Stewart Haas

Sign Says: I'm Tired Of Winning, Going To Stewart Haas

Is it me or does he look like he’s ducktaped to a dolly?? And why won’t people transport me around work on a dolly…it sounds like fun and I know the guys next door have a couple! Ah on second thought they would probably just drop me in the quad or leave me in the storage closet or something. I’ll walk.


Congratulations are in order for Clint Bowyer for being the winner of the Gillette Timeshaver Award for spending the least time in the pits in Charlotte. I don’t know if you have been paying attention to this award but each week the Gillette Young Guns Driver who has spent the least amount of time in the pits during that particular race is the driver awarded. As you all know I am fascinated by pit stops and pit crews so I pay attention to these kind of things. Fans at home can play along by going to the Gillette Timeshaver website to align themselves up with one of the Gillete Young Guns.

The Gillette Young Guns

The Gillette Drivers from L-R: Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch

And that’s a great line up of drivers if you consider that both Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne got top five finishes at Charlotte last week.


***Updated to find out that this IS some sort of hazing. Apparently this took place at FanFest at JGR. According to sources-employees at JGR do this to employees who have given their notice.  Tony was well Tonynapped from the JGR cafeteria by crew members and transported to the flagpole- where he was tied to the flagpole.