Stealth Mode…2013 version

I have been taking a summer break so to speak right now. Sometimes you just have to step back and take care of yourself. I am hoping to get things back on track and get back to The Park. In the mean time, I am still watching things and I do have a lot to write about.

Thanks~ Trixie

Texas Government in Action

I usually don’t post about my political affiliation or where I fall on hot button topics.  I do not want this blog to become a political forum.  I love a good debate don’t get me wrong, but this is not the place for it.  With that being said, I loved what was happening in the Texas Senate last night.  Senator Wendy Davis began her filibuster yesterday morning shortly after 11:00 am (11:18 am to be exact) to prevent a vote on a the controversial bill SB5.  Without going into too much detail, this bill was dealing with abortion.  Throughout the afternoon and late into the evening Senator Davis continued speaking on point about this bill.. During this time she would not be able to eat or drink anything or use the restroom during her speech.  She wouldn’t be able to sit or lean on a desk or chair under any circumstances.  A filibuster can end if the person speaking yields the floor or after three violations of the rules for decorum and debater.   Late into the evening, the Republicans were trying to stop the filibuster and this is where all the fun and somewhat confusion began.

In Texas, our legislature meets every two years.They convene at noon on the 2nd Tuesday in January in odd-numbered year.  The maximum duration for a regular session is 140 days.  However, our governor can call a special session if necessary to deal with critical legislation.  These special sessions are limited to 30 days.  During this time the legislature is permitted to pass laws only on subjects submitted by the governor in calling for the session.  And this is where we were last night.  The special session as called by Governor Rick Perry was scheduled to end at midnight.  If the Senate did not pass the SB 5 (it had already passed in the House), the bill would die and it would not be sent to Governor Perry.

Social media was awesome last night.  I was able to watch the proceedings from the Senate floor via The Texas Tribune website.  I also followed along on Twitter at #sb5 and #txlege.  There were several tweets that were very informative, funny and some were, to be honest, down right stupid.  But, here I was late at night, watching my state legislature at work n the confines of my home in Lubbock, Texas.  Granted by the time it ended, I still didn’t know what germane and germaneness meant.  I don’t know who was right on the points of order. Senators were moving to table, moving to debate, etc.  As midnight approached Senator Van de Putte (D-San Antonio)  made the best statement of the night (in my opinion)…(when she says President, she is referring to Senator Robert Duncan who was presiding over things last night)

“Did the President hear me or did the President hear me and refuse to recognize me?  At What point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”

This statement brought thunderous cheers from the gallery.  For the next fifteen minutes, all you could pretty much hear was cheering and applause from the gallery.  These constituents were making their voices heard last night.  A roll call was attempted to vote for the bill, but as I watched the clock, it became midnight.  This meant, according to the law, the special session was over and the bill died on the Senate floor.  The bill could not be signed, enrolled or sent to Governor Perry.  Even after I turned things off shortly after midnight, there was some debate whether the vote occurred prior to midnight or right after midnight.  At 3:00 am this morning, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, officially declared the bill could not be enrolled.

I have always been fascinated by how the government works.  I am not always a fan of our legislators both here in Texas and in Washington.  Politics is a game.  I believe majority of our elected officials do try to do right by all of us. I know this battle for SB5 isn’t over.  By law Governor Perry can call another special session and this starts all over again.  I for one will be watching!

Sonoma

In years past I was a big fan of the road races, but the last several years have provided some exciting racing at the road courses.  Part of the reason I didn’t like road racing, is you would have teams bring in what they called “road course ringers”.  Teams would bring in these drivers because their current drivers just didn’t perform well on the road courses.  But on the flip side, how are drivers going to get experience and improve their skills if they never get a chance to be out on the course.  Anyway, I know some teams bring in other drivers, but we don’t hear as much about the road course ringers as we used to.

with that being said, I was ready to sit down and watch the race.  I had my notebook in hand and was settled in my big comfy couch.  I wanted to watch a race from the green to the checkers.  The last several weeks I haven’t been able to sit down and watch the races.  Of course, part of it may be because I didn’t want to mess with the mojo for Tony Stewart that seemed to be working (see previous posts). And just like the last couple of weeks, I didn’t get to watch the race.  So the mojo was still working…sorta…see more below.

I would like to congratulate Martin Truex Jr for his victory yesterday at Sonoma.  He has not had a win in since June 2007 (or 218 starts since his last win).  That’s 6 years.  While looking over my notes for this post, I noticed my youngest son had not even been born yet.  Well, I am glad he won.  He has been so close so many times this year.  I like Martin Truex.  I am glad for the race fans and as well as Martin that we no longer have the privilege of seeing him “lip sync” the NAPA Know How Jingle.  You could tell everyone was happy for him!

Kudos have to go out to both Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch on their finishes yesterday.  First up is Jeff Gordon. He was tagged for entering a closed pit road after a yellow had been thrown.  He missed it by thatmuch.  But at the time Jeff decided to pit, it was still green and it was too late to change his mind.  At that point, you are pretty much committed and you just take the penalty.  Who knows if he had made it before the yellow, if we would be celebrating with him victory lane instead of Martin. By the way, Jeff was runner-up in yesterday’s race. All I have to say when I heard Kurt got a speeding penalty while serving his first penalty for speeding on pit road…”DOH!”.  That is when you know you are having a bad day.  Despite this, Kurt finished 4th.  I loved what he said to his guys though, “We were fast, even on pit road, twice. I messed up, flat out. I was speeding both times.”  I love it.  Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that you messed up and move on.

Final thoughts…

  • Once again Jimmie is still in the lead at this point in the season.  But it really doesn’t matter if you lead the first 26 races, it matters what you do in the last ten.  Points reset and the everyone from 1-12 is reshuffled.  Right now the two wild spots go to Tony Stewart (1 win at sitting in 15th spot) and Kasey Kahne (1 win sitting in 11th).  Paul Menard is sitting in the 12th position but he does not have a win this season.
  • This has been such a feel good weekend for the folks of NASCAR.  On Sunday, we have Martin wining after a 218 winless streak.  But prior to Sunday, AJ Allmendinger took the win at Road America in the Nationwide Series.  It has been a tough year for AJ.  It was good to see him get a second chance in NASCAR.  From all the interviews I have seen of him, he is so thankful he has been given a second chance.  It was wonderful to see the joy on his face in victory lane!  I loved it when he kissed the ESPN camera!
  • I have to say, I wish those singers who get the wonderful opportunity to sing the National Anthem at a sporting event would just sing the song.  This not a tryout for “The Voice” or “American Idol”.  I don’t mind if you want to hold the notes at the end of the song.  But please how some respect for our National Anthem!
  • Cannot wait for BadGroove’s report from Sonoma.  She always has a way of sharing her adventures that make you feel like you were right there with her.  She has some of the best writing out there!  If you haven’t read her stuff, you are missing out!  There are days I wish my writing was even close to hers!  Way to go Amy!
  • I love any commercial with Tony Stewart in it.  But, I have to say I am a little creeped out with his latest one involving him doing the splits.  It’s just creepy!  Sorry Tony, I am not loving this one.  Has anyone tried the soda cookie?  Just curious…

One final message…

The last few weeks I have discussed with you the idea of not messing with the mojo.  I am very superstitious when it comes to sports.  I myself had a specific routine when I played basketball and I followed it religiously.  I know athletes at all levels I am sure are the same way.  This is the reason I didn’t want to mess with the mojo.  Since I started not watching the entire races (starting with Charlotte), Tony has not finished out of the top 10.  To increase the mojo magic, I posted a picture of Tony holding the 2011 championship trophy prior to Dover.  Guess what he won at Dover!  So I have been doing this hoping the mojo would continue.  Well, last week, I didn’t get to post things as I wanted due to work and home related matters.  I did hold up part of the mojo magic, I didn’t watch the entire race.  BUT, I DID NOT POST THE PICTURE!  And Tony finished a dismal 28th place!  UGH!  So in order to get the mojo back to where it needs to be…here it is!

2011 championship

Party in the Poconos 400

I was already to go for the race last Sunday.  For the first I was pumped up for a Pocono race.  Of course, it helped that my driver won the week before race.  I just had this feeling about Tony that he would have a good weekend.  Thanks to Mother Nature, qualifying for the race was rained and the field set according to points standing.  This meant Tony would be starting mid-pack.  I wasn’t worried though.  Tony has a history of not lighting up qualifying.  It doesn’t matter where you start, it is where you end up that counts!

Of course, with qualifying being rained out this meant Jimmie Johnson, aka 5-time, wasNASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09 starting on the pole.  This doesn’t always bode well with the other 42 competitors.  When Jimmie gets out in front and takes control of a race, well, it makes for a long day for the those who aren’t Jimmie fans.  I think Jimmie wanted to win this race and in a dominate way.  He felt cheated after last week’s race at Dover.  When Jimmie has a chip on his shoulder watch out!  And that was the case on Sunday.  I started watching the race and Jimmie took command of the race.  Then for some reason, my body chose to take a nap.  I woke up with right before the 2nd caution of the race.  I guess I didn’t miss much in between because one there had only been one caution, and two, Jimmie was still in the lead.  And that is pretty much how it ended.  Congratulations to Jimmie for his third win of the season.  He is now tied with Matt Kenseth for the most wins so far this season.  He still has the points lead folks.  But does it matter that he has the points lead now?  Nope.  Everything resets for the final 10 races.  There is still quite a bit of racing until Richmond!

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

This was the third week in a row, Tony finished inside the top 10 with a 4th place finish.  I am telling you guys do not mess with the mojo I have going on with the #14 team.  Once again, I didn’t watch the entire race AND I posted a picture of Tony with his championship trophy from 2011.  I am so proud of the #14 team.  They have jumped up 7 spots in the last three weeks from 20th to 13th!  If they continue the move up the points standings, Tony will be in the top 10 before you know it.  I still think he needs at least one more win to secure himself in The Chase.  Tony seems to be on the upswing compared to the first part of the season.  So without further ado and to keep the mojo going…

2011 championship

Some thoughts from the weekend…

  • First race of the TNT race schedule.  I am not a fan of the TNT coverage.  I just have to remember they have only 6 races.  One down, five to go.  It’s going to be tough, but I think I can make it.
  • Enough with the restart controversy.  Move on, let it go.  Jimmie Johnson got punked at Dover.  He tried to outsmart Juan, and well, Juan outsmarted him.
  • In the waning moments of the race on Sunday, I found myself rooting for Dale Jr to pass Jimmie.  This for me was like choosing between cheering for Michigan to beat the University of Texas in a football game.  I DO NOT LIKE either team (I am a big Ohio State fan and Texas Tech alum).  But I like one just a little bit more than the other.
  • Here are some pics from the race weekend I thought you guys might enjoyNASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

The Tricky Triangle

Disclaimer…I am apologizing to all of these out there who have math phobias for my usage of math lingo in this post.  Sometimes my geekiness just can’t help itself.  I hope I have done my math teachers proud by the use of this math terminology!

A usual NASCAR race occurs on an oval track which gives us four turns of action.  But there are on a few occasions where NASCAR takes their show to the not so oval tracks.  This weekend the Cup drivers will tackle Pocono Raceway aka The Tricky Triangle in Long Pond Pennsylvania for the Party in the Poconos 400 sponsored by Walmart.

To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot about this track.  The only thing I know it is in the shape of a triangle, albeit a rounded triangle.  I still shudder and get chills every time I think about triangles.  I think this all goes back to one of junior high math classes where I had to memorize the Pythagorean Theorem (note…I still can recite it word for word…the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides).  Hopefully the drivers and crew chiefs won’t have to use that kind of math to get around the 2.5 mile triangle this weekend.

I can see how the track is called the Tricky Triangle.  None of the sides are the same length or in math lingo a scalene triangle.  So no chance of using that pesky Pythagorean Theorem I mentioned earlier because you need a right angle in the triangle to use this theorem.  Can you imagine if one of the turns was a right angle?  Any way, here are the specs for the triangle the drivers will have to contend with this weekend.

  • Frontstretch = 3,740 feet
  • Long Pond Straight = 3,055 feet
  • Short Chute = 1,780 feet
  • Turn 1 = 14 degrees of banking
  • Turn 2 = 8 degrees of banking
  • Turn 3 – 6 degrees of banking

There is much in the way of banking like there is say at Daytona or Talladega.  This is a flat race track which requires the drives to contend with very different corners and straightaways.  Currently, there is one driver who seems to have mastered the domain of Pocono Speedway.  Jeff Gordon has the most wins with 6.  His last win coming last year at the Pennsylvania 500.  He has also lead the most career laps at Pocono with 965.  So if you have a fantasy league, I would definitely put Jeff Gordon on the team this week.  Another driver who has some success at Pocono is Denny Hamlin with three wins.  He swept both races back in 2006.  If Denny is looking to bounce back from last week’s race, this would be the one race to do it.

I will be watching Tony Stewart this week.  After his win last week at Dover, and his top-10 finish at Charlotte, he is riding some momentum into Pocono this weekend.  Tony’s win at Pocono was in 2009 at the first race in Pocono.  I have been following Tony’s career for several years and this is the time of the year he gets things started.  I am hoping he take this momentum to Victory Lane and get his second win of the season!

If you are headed out to Pocono this weekend have a great time!  If you are thinking about taking in the race, but don’t want to spend too much of that budget, you can still purchase concourse level tickets for just $25!  That’s right…$25!  These tickets normally would sell for $55, $50, $45.  That’s quite a deal when you think about it!  It basically means you can get two tickets for the price of one.  If I had that kind of savings, it would mean I could buy another Tony Stewart souvenir for my already overflowing souvenir collection!  You can buy these great tickets online at http://www.walmart.com/cp/1091705 or Pocono Raceway

When I started researching things about Pocono Raceway I wasn’t sure what I was going to find.  I wasn’t familiar with the track and to be honest it usually isn’t one of the races I have circled on my calendar to watch.  It’s not because there isn’t exciting racing, it’s usually the fact that I am on vacation during this time and don’t get a chance to watch the race. You need to check out the Pocono Green Initiatives!  The one program I like is the NASCAR Clean Air Tree Planting Program.  Ten trees are planted for every green flag of NASCAR race at Pocono.  Ten trees per race that’s twenty trees a year!  Pocono is definitely leading the way in conservation in NASCAR!

Some final thoughts…

  • I was so EXCITED about Tony’s win last weekend!  I didn’t catch much of the race.  It was just difficult to watch when you are feeling like death warmed over.  I did, however catch the last several laps!  I hope my neighbors can forgive me for the yelling and screaming I did.  If not, WHO CARES!!!
  • With this win, Tony would be in the Chase as one of the wild cards.  He is currently 16th (up four spots) and has one win.  The only other driver with one win not in the top 12 is David Ragan.  He is sitting in 27th place.  So if the regular season ended today, the wild cards would be Jeff Gordon (sitting at 11th spot) and Tony Stewart!  But the regular season doesn’t end after Dover so there is still a lot of racing left.
  • I believe NASCAR made the right call with Jimmie Johnson.  From the video I saw, it seemed Jimmie was ahead of Juan in the restart zone, he continued to be ahead of him and the field after the green flag flew.  I just thought it was one of those good restarts Jimmie usually gets, but in the case not so much.  Whether or not Juan held back or not, that is not for me to say.  Sometimes restarts are about gamesmanship.  Perhaps this was one of those where Jimmie got outplayed.  Either way it cost him the race win.
  • I am somewhat superstitious when it comes to sports.  I have been known to sit in the exact same spot, where the same clothes and I have even go so far as to have the same type of food and beverage to help give my driver good mojo.  I know this may seem a little odd for those who don’t follow sports, but hey, you don’t mess with the mojo!  So with that being said, I am going to post a gratuitous picture of Tony to give him so good mojo for this weekend!  The same one I posted last weekend!

2011 championship

Day O’ Racing-2013 version

I have to say I love Memorial Day weekend.  To me it’s the start of summer, even though the official date isn’t until someone in June.  It also means my birthday is a few weeks away, but most of all it means I get to celebrate Day o’ Racing!  I have been somewhat unofficially declaring the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend Day O’ Racing!  I mean three races in one day–Monaco, Indy 500, and the Coke 600!  I usually don’t get up early on Sunday to watch Monaco, sorry boys, I like my sleep and as you know the Coke 600 is a marathon.  I need my rest!

I have been somewhat posting pretty religiously about Day O’ Racing since 2005. I started looking back on my posts and I have to say some of them are quite entertaining.  Back in 2006, Tony ended up hitting the wall and fracturing his right scapula. For the most part, Charlotte seems to get the best of Tony at times.  If you want to check out some blasts from the past, you can, just click on the year (2005, 2007, 2008, two posts from 2009(a), 2009(b)2010).  Sorry there really isn’t much from 2012 and nothing from 2011 (this was due in part to my father’s death on April 18 of that year).

I was excited for this year’s version of Day O’ Racing!  I love watching the Indy 500!  There is so much tradition surrounding this event, how can you not watch?  If there was only one race a year I watched growing up, it was the Indy 500!  In fact, I told my husband, this was at the top of my race bucket list, yes, even before the Daytona 500.  I love how the drivers are introduced, the playing of taps, and of course no Indy 500 would be complete without Jim Nabors singing “Back Home in Indiana”.  I don’t know if Indy will be the same once Jim Nabors is no longer able to sing at Indy.  I guess they could CGI him in.  I mean they can do all kinds of things with technology these days.  Any how, I was excited about this race!  For one, AJ Allmendinger!  I mean AJ had a rough 2012.  But I was glad to see he had been given a second chance with Roger Penske.  It was so exciting to see him lead laps and I thought how AWESOME it would be if he won the whole darn thing, but alas it wasn’t meant to be.  He had issues with his seat belt and had to pit under green. But as much as I would have loved to have seen AJ get the checkers, my heart was with Tony Kanaan!  That’s right, I cheer for another Tony on Day O’ Racing.  Indy 500 has been that elusive win for Mr. Kanaan.  Just like the Daytona 500 with some racers, the Indy 500 can be a cruel bitch!  But not this year, my friends!  After 12 years of trying, Tony got see those checkered flags fly for him!

Now I thought to myself, maybe this was a good sign for my other Tony!  I took some time to catch my breath and eat because the marathon was coming up later in the afternoon.  Just like with a marathon you have to pace yourself, and the Coke 600 is no different.  This is the longest race of the year for the competitors.  Of course, not everyone will make the complete 600 miles. As much as I like to say I watched the entire race, I didn’t.  There are parts of the race that can get kind of, shall we say, boring.  I have to say, the weirdest part of the race was when the cable dohickey thing broke and wreaked havoc with competitors as well as race fans.  NASCAR red flagged the race.  Normally under red flag conditions, teams cannot work on the cars.  They can look all they, but no touching is allowed until the yellow flag is back out.  However, NASCAR allowed teams to work on the cars for 15 minutes.  Plus the drivers were given their spots back when the caution came out.  I have to say kudos to NASCAR for making this decision since this was something beyond the competitors control.  I am glad no fans were seriously hurt and escaped with minor injuries.

But as with the Coke 600, teams need to adjust to the track conditions.  This is a race that starts in the daytime and finishes up in the night-time.  The teams who can make the best adjustments throughout the day usually find themselves at the front late in the race.  Kasey Kahne was poised to win another Coke 600, but a late yellow changed everything.  What do you do if you are Kasey?  If you stay out, the rest of the field comes in, you come in the field stays out.  Kasey stayed out and well, the majority of the field pitted.  Kasey still had a shot to win the race, but to me his restart wasn’t the best and especially on older tires.  As the drivers took the green, here comes The Closer–Kevin Harvick to the front!  Once he got out in front, it was over.  I don’t care if Kurt looked to be making a charge, Kevin had this race. Congratulations Kevin!

Oh a high note, Tony scored his first top 10 finish since Phoenix!  Maybe they have figured things out.  This Gen 6 car has all of SHR befuzzled and bemused!  I know Tony likes to win, but he was glad to take this type of finish after all the struggles over the past couple of months.  Maybe Tony can take this positive upswing into Dover this weekend!

Other tidbits..

  • Can’t believe we are half way through the first 26 races.  Right now, Jimmie Johnson is leading the points and has 2 wins.  Here is the rest of the Top 10 [Edwards (1 win), Kenseth (3 wins), Bowyer (0 wins), Kahne (1 win), Dale Jr. (0 wins), Harvick (2 wins), Menard (0 wins), Truex (0 wins), Keselowski (1 win)].  It looks like the 2 wild cars will go to Kyle Busch (sitting 11th and has 2 wins) and Eric Almirola sitting in 12th spot.
  • If some drivers don’t step it up the might find themselves out of the Chase this year.  Some of these drivers include Greg Biffle (13th), Jeff Gordon (15th), Kurt Busch (18th) and Tony Stewart (20th).  None of these drivers has a win so far this season.
  • Even though David Ragan has a win, he is outside the top 20.  He is currently sitting 27th.
  • Denny Hamlin is sitting right now at 24th.  He would still have to get into the top 20 to even have a shot to make the Chase.

My final thoughts…

I haven’t been a big Kurt Busch fan over the years.  I don’t discount his talent.  Just like his brother, he can drive the wheels off his car.  Kurt was the first driver to win a championship under the Chase format back in 2004.  But some of Kurt’s backlash is his own doing.  But I think he is having a good year even though he doesn’t have a win as of yet.  He has been thisclose, but has been able to seal the deal.  So far Kurt has shown some promise with the Furniture Row Racing team this year.  I believe Kurt will get the elusive win this year.  Maybe this is what Kurt needs.  Sometimes you have to take a step back to realizee how lucky you are to race in one of the premiere racing divisions.

Tony needs some good Mojo right now…so here’s my shameless gratuitous picture of Tony!

2011 championship