Posted in NASCAR 2013

Stewart Haas Racing and Michigan

I was going to write about Sunday’s race in the first part of the post, but with everything going on with SHR I thought I would lead with it this week.  On sunday night while pursuing Twitter looking for more information about the race, I saw it.  I saw there was a possibility that Kurt Busch might become a 4th team member of SHR.  Yesterday it was somewhat quite on Twitter and Facebook with this story.  All that I have seen is Kurt Busch has an offer on the table.  I am not sure how I feel about this possibility.  Kurt Bush has been having a good year running for Furniture Row Racing.  He had another good finish on Sunday with a 3rd place finish.  Kurt is currently sitting in 9th place in the standings.  There are only three races left until the Chase begins (Bristol, Atlanta, and Richmond).  I think he will make the Chase unless he completely implodes in the next three races.  Kurt only is on a one year contract with FRR and it will expire at the end of the 2013 season.  But Kurt Busch at SHR I just don’t know.  Can you imagine Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick AND Kurt Busch.  These four drivers are never at a loss for words when it comes to dealing with the media.  Kurt Busch, just like Danica, is polarizing.  Everything I have read, people really hate this move or really like this move, there is no middle ground.  I for one have never been a Kurt Busch fan.  Of course I am not a Ryan Newman fan either.  There have been those who wonder if you can find room, money, and sponsorship for Kurt Busch to be with SHR in 2014, why couldn’t you find the same for Ryan Newman?  I am by no means an expect on this matter.  I only see what is reported regarding this matter.  Maybe Tony wanted to go in a different direction with his team.  I mean he is investing his money into the team along with Gene Haas. To quote the Godfather, it’s not personal, it’s business.  There is more to Stewart Haas Racing than just the drivers, he has crew members and other staff members that depend on the success of SHR.  I am positive the decision to let Ryan go wasn’t easy, but in life you have to make tough decisions.  On paper, both Ryan and Kurt have roughly the same numbers.  They both started racing in Cup in 2000, with Kurt going full-time in 2001 and Newman full-time in 2002.  Kurt does have a championship under his belt back in 2004.  Note he was the first driver to win a championship under the Chase format.  Of course, there is more deciding which driver drives for which particular team every year.  Sometimes it is about what is best for the team, or what the driver whats, or lately, sponsorship.  I guess we will all have to wait to see how this all shakes down for SHR.

In other news coming out of SHR, it was announced yesterday that Tony Stewart will be out the rest of the season and Mark Martin will take over driving duties for the rest of the season.  Mark will begin his driving duties in the #14 starting with Bristol on Saturday night.  The only race that Mark will not race is Talladega where Austin Dillion will once again to the helm of the #14.  This gives Brian Vickers the opportunity to get into the #55 earlier than expected.  I think this is a good move for Tony.  The team will have consistency with one driver the rest of the season.  Even this late in Mark’s career he is competitive.  I think he would have won the race on Sunday if he hadn’t of run out of gas.  Both drivers have a deep respect for each other.  Several years ago Mark Martin said Tony Stewart was one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR.  I am happy with this choice.  Besides this will sort of force my hubby to cheer for the #14 each week.    I know Mark will give it his best when he gets behind the wheel of the #14.  I am thankful SHR is going with one driver (other than Talladega) for the rest of the season instead of the “insert driver here” every week.  If someone out there is questioning this decision all you have to see is what Tony Stewart said about mark Martin… “Mark is someone I’ve looked up to my entire career and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”  That right there says it all for those naysayers out there.

I was going to write about the race in another post, but with That Dang Ol’ Racing Show broadcast looming tonight, I wanted to get things posted before then.  This would be week two without Tony in the #14.  Austin Dillion was tagged to drive for the #14 team for the race.  He qualified 27th and finished 14th.  Thank you Mr. Dillion for your support.  See ya at Talladega.  Now on to the race.  Joey Lagano was on fire during the weekend.  He set a track record and grabbed the pole for the Pure Michigan 400.  I was watching practice (which I rarely do) and in an interview with Brad K. he thought his teammate was going to be the man to beat over the weekend.  I was wondering if the race was going to be a long race by the way it started out.  There were 3 quick cautions which started with Clint Bowyer’s spin on lap 1.  The next two, I was wondering if I jinxed.  Every time I would go into my kitchen, caution.  Let’s just say I was banned from the kitchen until commercial.  Despite the early cautions, the race started to settle down.  If you were watching the race, you know that Jimmie Johnson crashed in the last practice session and had to use a back up car that was slated to be used for Chicago (the first race in the Chase).  And as you know, since you were watching the race, ESPN was keeping track of Jimmie’s progress towards the front.  Yes, ESPN I got it.  Jimmie was starting in the back and he was going to make his way to the front.  But you don’t have to make it your goal to let us know every chance you got.  For those who don’t know, Jimmie made his way to the front in 45 laps and was able to lead a lap prior to the start of the first green flag pit stops.  Jimmie’s day however was short-lived.  He was out of the race around lap 58 with a blown engine.  For you Jimmie fans out there, this didn’t affect his Chase chances on any level since he is leading the points right now and has already punched his ticket for the Chase.

Turn 2 was not kind to several drivers throughout the day.  Several drivers ended up spinning out or hitting the wall.  Turn 2 got Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse, and the ever popular Kyle Busch.  Dale Earnhardt had a decent day, leading laps and looked like he was to give himself a chance to win the race.  Dale’s day went south around lap 135 when he hit the wall and sustained heavy damage.  This was the 2nd car from HMS that had a bad day.  Dale finished 36th and lost one spot in the standings.  He is now sitting in 7th spot.   So have  no fear Junior nation, your driver is still ok.  My husband was trying to convince me to pick the #88 for my race pick contest.  He seems to do pretty good at Michigan, but my gut said no.  He is just like picking Ohio State in the NCAA basketball tournament.  Looks good on paper, seems like a sure thing, but in the end all you get is heartache.  And Sunday was just an example of that.

Joey Lagano was the man of the weekend.  He was poised to take the win after Mark Martin ran out of gas with three laps to go.  Mark Martin had nothing to lose with his gamble.  He wasn’t fighting for a spot in the Chase or trying to keep his spot in the Chase.  So why not gamble on fuel mileage, unfortunately the gamble didn’t pay off for Mark.  Mark finished 27th.   When Mark ran out of gas, there was Joey passing him for the lead.  This would mark Joey’s first win since moving over to Penske this season.  This win snapped a 44 race winless streak for Joey.  More importantly for Joey, this put him back in the race for a wild card spot.  He moved up 3 spots to 13th in the standings just 7 points behind Martin Truex who has the last wild card spot.  This wild card race is getting pretty interesting especially now that Tony Stewart is out for the season.  Once again, I think this will all come down to Richmond to see who grabs the two wild card spots.  If Kasey stays out of the top 10, he will have a secure spot since he has two wins.  Of course this could all change, if one of those sitting around him in standings with one win gets a win in the next three races.  man I am going to love the next three weeks!

Few thoughts…

  • I am beginning to find myself cheering for Clint Bowyer each week.  The more and more I watch him in interviews and watch on the race track, he is the type of driver I could get behind.  I would love to hang out with Clint maybe go fishing and have a few beers with.  And if you can hang with the Duck Dynasty crew and get what Duck Dynasty is all about, then you are good people in my book!
  • For those living under a rock, Speed TV is no longer on the air.  It is now Fox Sports 1.  I am going to give Fox Sports 1 a chance.  When ESPN started back in the day, I am sure they weren’t lighting it up on a daily basis.  They have had a few years to fine tune their programming.  Race Day has been pared down to one hour.  I may be in the minority on this, but I am glad it is now down to one hour.  In years past, Race Day would air right up until race broadcast time.  For example, if the race broadcast pre race show began at noon, Race Day would end at noon.  I would then switch over to the race and watch that pre-race show.  Sunday, Race Day ended an hour prior to ESPN’s pre-race show.   Some were upset by this change, but for me I just rolled with the flow.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya is out of the #42 at the end of the season.   Silly season is in full swing folks!  Let the rumors and half-truths begin!  Launch the black helicopters and drones!  Kyle Larson’s name has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Juan in the #42.  This would be a WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, move!!! Kyle is in his rookie season in the Nationwide Series.  Prior to this weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio, he has only 21 starts under his belt in Nationwide and was sitting in 8th spot.  He does have 2 starts in Trucks with one win and a 2nd place finish at Eldora.  I think Kyle needs to get more experience in NASCAR before being thrown into the shark tank.  AJ Allmendinger’s name has been kicked around for a possible replacement as well as Ryan Newman.  Either one would be a better choice than Kyle Larson into the seat.
  • Speaking of JPM, saw an interesting story on ESPN.com.  Michael Andretti would love for JPM to come race for his race team.  But as with NASCAR, it is all about sponsorship.  If Andretti can find sponsorship, could Juan be headed back to Indy Racing?  It would be interesting to see how that all shakes out.
  • Brad K. was going to gamble for the win on Sunday, but wasn’t going to be really close on fuel.  Points racing is not what drivers like to do, they want to race for the win, but sometimes IT IS about the big picture.  Brad and his team decided he needed to come down to get gas and finish the race without the win.  By the way, Brad finished 12th.  I am sure it wasn’t what he wanted, but it kept him in Chase contention.  If he would have run out of gas, he would have definitely finished further on back.
  • If you haven’t seen the show Duck Dynasty, what are you waiting for?  This is one of better shows on television at the present time.  Yes, it is a reality show, but not like all those other ones out there.  The Robertson family is funny!  Yes, they are rednecks and at times I wonder about Uncle Si, but in the end they are all about family and God.   They sit down to dinner with each other and you see them pray.  There’s nothing preachy about it at all.  It is one of the few shows I can watch with everyone in my family.  I don’t have to worry about language or other things my two children will pick up.  It’s tough finding shows that I can sit down and watch with my kids.  Gone are the days of Dukes of Hazzard, Full House, Little House on the Prairie.  Now we have shows like Dance Moms, Honey Boo-Boo, and the Real Housewives.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are those of you out there who watch these shows, but there aren’t the kind of shows I can sit down and watch with my kids.   So if you haven’t watched Duck Dynasty, stop on over at A&E and watch!
  • Non-NASCAR related–my youngest son loves to watch the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Disney Channel.  It is a pretty decent show for the younger crowd.  Kids can learn things from watching the show.   It’s not on the same level as Phineas and Ferb, but it is still a decent show for kiddos.  However, if I hear the phrase “oh tooldles” or see the “hot dog dance” one more time, I think you will have to lock myself up for the rest of the summer!  Of course both boys will start school come Monday, August 26.  My oldest will be in the 4th grade while my youngest will be starting Pre-K!  To all parents out there, not much longer…6 days!

Don’t forget about tonight’s broadcast of That Dang Ol’ Racing Show on Real Country 98.5 FM here in Lubbock, Texas from 6-7.  I was all prepared for last week’s show.  I had to make a run to Barnes and Noble with my other half so he could get his fantasy football magazines.  I had cell phone in hand and yes, that was me in B&N with ear buds on.  To be clear, it was just one ear bud and not both.  But due to technical difficulties and things beyond my control, the show was postponed to Wednesday.  Wednesday’s show was scratched as well.  And so here we are this week.  The delay for the 2nd broadcast  hasn’t deterred me in the least.  I will be tuning in tonight to listen to the discussion and maybe I might just call in!

Since the news came there would be a local racing show, it has jump started me back into my blog.  It does help that I am a stay-at-home mom.  I can keep better track of things and maybe provide a little more in-depth analysis here in The Park.  I have been providing my take on NASCAR for several years now.  It has allowed me to meet fellow NASCAR fans across the US.  Even though I don’t know them on a personal level, I feel connected to them because we are part of the NASCAR Nation.  I have always maintained The Park as a place for discussion and debate.  I welcome it.  The words I type here are my opinions and my viewpoints.  They may not always agree with the majority of those of you out there, but that’s what makes things fun!  If we all agreed, it would be boring.  I know what I am talking about.  I research things using NASCAR.com, ESPN, Fox Sports and yes, Twitter and Facebook.  I even read other’s blogs who provide other insight.  I try to be entertaining for those who stop by to read my posts.  I am not too concerned whether or not my readers comment (even though secretly I wish someone would), I am just hoping I can get more readers and maybe, just maybe someone might notice my work.  For those who stop by thanks for your support and for those first timers, WELCOME!  Have a great day!

Posted in NASCAR 2013

Texas, Tony and Tidbits

Before I can even begin to put my thoughts down, I have to send all my thoughts and prayers to the city of Boston as well as to the families directly affected by the bombings on Monday afternoon.  We stand with you through as you try to heal from this horrific event.  If history has shown, Boston will rise and become stronger!  God Bless You!

Disclaimer…First and foremost, I will not make this blog about politics.  This is NOT the purpose of this blog.  With that being said, if you read this post, and want to comment, you are more than welcome to do so.  I welcome discussion on this site, however I will not engage in a negative conversation just because you don’t agree with what I have to say.  Please be aware these are MY opinions and MY opinions alone.  I stand by them.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to post about the Texas weekend.  There were so many stories coming into the weekend, during the weekend, and out of the weekend.  With all the stories I had several things I could have written about.

Kyle Busch was on fire this past weekend at Texas.  He swept the weekend winning the Nationwide race on Friday night and then winning from the pole on Saturday night.  I know there are a majority of you out there who do not like Kyle Busch.  I am not the biggest fan and I have called into question some of his behavior over the years.  All I know is this man can drive the wheels of a car.  All throughout the race, he was up front leading laps.  Oh and by the way, he lead the most laps that night.  I know there are those who think Jimmie is the one to watch seven races into the season.  But you have to look at Kyle to challenge Jimmie throughout the season.

Now…with the part of the post I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write.  I have been kind of holding off on the post. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke or some just bad luck, but…I am beginning to wonder what the heck is going on the #14 team this season.  I don’t know if they are snake bit or what, but this is NOT the kind of season I expected so far from Tony. Tony has been known to start a little slow and get hot through the summer, but this is getting hard to watch each week.  I am beginning to think there is more going on with the #14 team.  Have they missed the mark on figuring out this new car?  During the race on Sunday, I was listening to Tony’s scanner and he said, “I don’t care how many times we have come down pit road, fix this thing this time.”  Clearly the #14 has missed the mark.  The highest spot Tony has finished so far this year is 8th and that was a Phoenix.  He hasn’t had a top-ten since, let alone a top-5 or a win.  He is 111 points back from points leader Jimmie Johnson and in 22nd place in the standings.  If this continues, Tony will NOT be in The Chase.  I am hoping the #14 team has a come to Jesus meeting this week at the competition meeting.  It’s been difficult for this Tony Stewart week after week waiting for the team to get the set up right.  This past weekend I saw him struggle at a track he likes.  I was at the race in 2006 when he won his first race at Texas.  But yet on Sunday, he struggled.  He finished 21st.  I am hoping they get something together this week for Kansas.  I know there is still some racing until the 26th race at Richmond, but if things don’t change, this Tony fan will be watching her driver outside The Chase.

Penalties were handed down to Brad Keselowski and Joey Lagono.  The #2 and #22 teams had to remove the rear housing from their cars on Sunday morning.  Here is what NASCAR said about why the teams were penalized.  According to NASCAR’s statement, the infraction by the Penske teams violated the rule which states suspension systems and components must be approved by the governing body.  Teams were changing things and getting through inspection right up until race time.  In fact, Joey was still not in his car when the command was given for drivers to start their engines.  He was sent to the back of the pack because he was late.  However, Joey sort of got the last laugh and finished 5th while Brad finished 9th. NASCAR handed down the following penalties to the #2 & #22 teams.

  1. Joey and Brad were docked 25 driver points as well as 25 owner points
  2. Brad and Joey’s crew chiefs, Paul Wolfe and Todd Gordon respectively, are suspended for 6 races as well as the All-Star race.  They have also been fined $100,000.
  3. Team engineers for both teams as well as team manager, Travis Geisler were also suspended for 6 races.

Penske will appeal the decision which means all crew chiefs and members will be with the teams this weekend and other races until the appeals have been heard.

Keeping with the Penske teams, Brad K. went on a tirade on Saturday.  He was angry for the way NASCAR confiscated the rear housing on the #2 & #22 prior to Saturday night’s race.  He was also critical of the way NASCAR delayed his team in the inspection process at Martinsville as well as the penalty he received for pitting outside the pit box.  Brad was not fined for his critical comments about the NASCAR governing body.  You can make your own decision on whether Brad should have been penalized in light of the fine Denny Hamlin received for his criticism of the Gen-6 car.

Now…before I comment on the following, please reread the disclaimer.  I am not going to get into a political battle with anyone.  This is NOT what The Park is about.  There has been much made about the NRA sponsorship of this Cup race this past weekend.  I have had discussions with friends and family about this since the announcement that the NRA was going to sponsor this race in Texas.  I will say, I did not have an issue with the NRA sponsoring a race.  Whether you like the NRA or not, this wasn’t about TMS trying to be political in any sense of the word.  This was about sponsorship and bringing dollars into the sport of NASCAR.  Eddie Gossage, even said he would not have the gun celebration in Victory Lane if teams, sponsors, etc did not want that type of celebration.  To be honest, I was glad he did not have to alter the celebration in Victory Lane.  It is one of the things that makes TMS, TMS.  I am sympathetic to the Newtown tragedy as well as others where guns were used to kill innocent people.  I believe in the 2nd amendment.  I believe we should have the right to own guns.  Owning a gun is a great responsibility.  I am a gun owner.  I have two shotguns, one belonged to my grandfather and the other belonged to my father.  I do not have shells for both guns because (1) they haven’t been fired in quite some time and need cleaning and (2) I have small children in the house.  I am not ready to have the ammunition in the house with my small children. Once I choose to have the ammo in the house, I will sit down, just like my father, and explain what it is to be a responsible gun owner.  I grew up knowing that guns could kill.  I knew that if I ever messed with my father’s shotgun I was in serious trouble.  Every single time he cleaned his gun, he sat with me and explain the dangers of a gun and also how to be a responsible gun owner.  When I would go hunting with him, he taught me how to carry the gun as well as how to behave while hunting.  That’s just it.  You have to be a responsible gun owner.  Lock your guns up if you do not want your children playing with them.  If you truly don’t want your guns to be handled by your children, DO NOT HAVE THEM IN THE HOUSE!  That’s it.  I could go on about other issues regarding the gun law battle, but that is for another day and time.

IMG_3506I have to give mad props to one Mr. Eddie Gossage.  This man knows how to market his product.  He also knows how to put on a show for the fans who make the pilgrimage every year to Texas Motor Speedway.  The racing isn’t always the best on TMS, but this man is a showman!  I love his current marketing of TMS by calling the racing at TMS the Wild Asphalt Circus.  I have been able to attend 3 race weekends at TMS.  I got the chance to attend the first fall race at TMS back in 2005.  It was my first experience attending a NASCAR race.  Despite the fact I had no clue what I was doing or what to expect, I had a great time.  Unfortunately I haven’t been back since the fall race in 2006.  Most of this has to do with the cost of attending a race weekend.  There are great ticket packages and I have people in the DFW area where I am sure I could crash for a weekend, but right now we just can’t afford to attend a race. I am hoping to attend the Truck race/IRL weekend this year.  It is a little cheaper on the pocketbook.  Besides one of my Facebook friends is encouraging me to see the Indy race there this June.  I will see what I can do.  Last year I had the great opportunity to meet Eddie Gossage last year when the Kyle Petty Charity ride came through Lubbock.  You could tell he was tired from riding all day, but he took the time to meet fans and take pictures.  If you ever get to meet the man, do so.  Thank you Eddie Gossage for all you do for the sport of NASCAR!

Posted in NASCAR 2013

California or Bust

Sorry for the lateness of the post.  I have been dealing with some life stuff and just now getting back on track.

I wish I could post more about the race at AutoClub Speedway, but I can’t.  In fact, the rare occasion I take time away from NASCAR, I miss all the action.  I saw Denny’s crash and it was painful to watch.  As we know now, Denny injured his back (compression fracture) and will be out at least 6 weeks.  That’s minimum 5 races since the drivers are off this weekend due to Easter.  Mark Martin has been tagged to substitute for Denny. I can’t even begin to know the kind of pain Denny is in right now.  But once you injured your back, it dogs you the rest of your life.  I just watched the replay and that was some fun racing in last few laps.  Denny and Joey are racing for the win and then boom, there comes Kyle Busch on the outside lane and took the win from both of them.  You know Kyle was watching it all go down with Joey and Denny and he just wanted for the right moment.  Congratulations to Kyle!

As many of you might or might not know, I am a Tony Stewart fan.  l love his attitude and his approach to racing.  Sometimes it can be difficult to be a Tony fan.  Despite the highs and lows, I still am a fan.  Sunday was no different.  I didn’t get to see the race live, but thanks to Speed I was able to DVR the race.  I fast-forwarded it to the Joey Lagano and Tony incident.  On the With 12 laps to go and on the last restart, Tony started third with a chance to win the race.  He was behind Joey on the restart. Tony made a move and Joey went down to black Tony.  From the replay, I couldn’t tell Joey did anything wrong.  It looked like racing to me.  I am no blind to know Tony has been known to block to prevent other drivers from passing him.  The only thing that I can think of that made Tony upset with Joey was early on in the restart.  But from the recliner it was hard to tell.  Whatever it was Tony was angry with Joey and made no bones about after the race.  Tony is old school.  He went down to confront Joey and fisticuffs commenced.  All I could think of when I saw the replay was when AJ Foyt got into with on Arie Luyendyk at TMS after an Indy race.  All I know is Tony will not forget what happened at AutoClub.

Got plans for the summer?  If not, you might want to head to the Poconos for the Fan Driven 400 (name to be determined by the fans) at Pocono Raceway on June 9, 2013.  Most tracks have 4 turns, but not the track at Pocono.  There are only 3 turns.  Yep, 3 turns people!   Thanks to the folks at Walmart, you can get $25 tickets for this race!  That’s what I just said $25 DOLLARS!  But you’ve got to get your rear in gear and get tickets.  There are only a limited amount at this price!  Tickets can be purchased online at Walmart or at Pocono Raceway!

As I mentioned above the Fan Driven 400 is not the name of the race.  You, the fan, get to decide the name.  You have until April 8 to vote for your favorite for the Fan Driven 400.  So zoom on over to walmarturl.com/FanDriven and cast your vote.  Reminder, you can vote once a day, every day until April 8.  I like the three finalists.  They submitted some creative ideas but what about the names that almost made the finals?

  • “Deer Please Don’t Run on the Track 400”!  If you live in Texas, this could happen to you quite a bit, especially during deer season.
  • “Light Beer in Plastic Cups 400”  Hello…there could have been so many tie-ins with this name.  I mean there are already beer sponsors and all we would have need was those red Solo cups.  And of course, you would have to bring in Toby Keith. It’s all about marketing people!
  • “I hope Brad wins! 400”  Ok…I guess.  How funny would that have been if Carl Edwards would have won?
  • “What Turn 4? 400”  I wonder how close this name was to making the final 3?  No offense to one of the finalists, but this one should have made the finalists list.  I mean have you seen Pocono.  Where is Turn 4?  There isn’t one.  How fun would this have been?
  • “The P-Town Funk Race”.  P-Town Funk sounds like some band from the 1970s.  I love me some funk music!  Bring me some of the P-Town Funk people!  Bring it!!

Can’t make it to Pocono?  You can take advantage of the Walmart Family Track Pack!  You can get a 4 tickets, 4 Cokes, and 4 hot dogs for ONLY $99!.  That’s quite a deal people!  This means I could take my family of four to select races throughout the year!  One of the races is the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte on May 18!  So how do you take advantage of this special deal?  Head on over to walmart.com/NASCAR to purchase your Family Track Pack!

lug nut

I was trying to do some organizing and purging of stuff this past weekend and came across my favorite sports souvenir–a lugnut.  The last time I was at Texas Motor Speedway, I found it laying on the ground.  I can’t recall whose pit area I found it, but let me tell ya, I wasn’t going to let it just lie there for some other NASCAR fan to collect.  It was a nice pretty yellow at one point, but now not so much.  Either way, I love my souvenir.  In fact it is better than the Tony Stewart tire I have in my storage unit.

I hope everyone has a Happy Easter!  I don’t have much planned this weekend.  I usually just take time to think about the importance of this weekend.  One of thing I do every single year during Easter is watch the 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston.  It was one of the movies my mom and I would watch every single year together.  I lost my mom in 2011 due to leukemia.  She fought the good fight, but this type of leukemia was brutal.  This will be the second year I will not be able to watch this movie with her.  But I know she will be with me on Saturday as I sit down to watch!  I love you and miss you everyday mom!

Posted in NASCAR 2013, What I know.

Bristol Baby

Bristol started out great.  I was ready to watch an exciting short track race with the Gen-6 car.  I was anxious to see how it would perform on this type of track.  The top qualifiers had a qualifying speed of under 15 seconds.  But alas, Bristol is always unpredictable.  And for this Tony Stewart fan, Bristol was just a long day of watching other drivers contend for the win.  Tony had a left rear going flat.  He was trying to nurse it around and get to the bottom.  Unfortunately he was not able to do so and BOOM, tire let go and into the wall he went.  All I could think of was that Geico commercial, “Someone help me, I have a flat tttiirrreee!!”

  And that was pretty much it for Tony for the day.  All he could do was log laps around Bristol.  I have to say, that has to be the most boring thing to do for a racer.  He finished 31st.

I have to say there was some good racing going on at Bristol.  As mentioned in my previous post about Bristol, Kyle Busch is a monster when it comes to this track.  Sunday was no different.  When he received a speeding penalty during his pit stop under the 2nd caution of the day, he started 32nd.  For most drivers, they would spend most of the day mired in the pack.  However, this is Kyle Busch.  He managed to move his way up through the field and to make a long story short, he finished 2nd.  I am telling you, if you have to place a bet with some of your hard-earned money, I would put it on Kyle at Bristol.  I think I would also like to put my money on Kasey Kahne as well.  He ran up front all day long. Speaking of Kasey, he has been moving up the power rankings of late. He finished with a 36th place finish at Daytona and then a 19th place finish at Phoenix. Last week he finished 2nd at Vegas and this week, he finished 1st.  Congratulations to Kasey!

Now back to Tony…

It has been a rough start for Tony this 2013.  He is in 24th spot, 85 points behind points leader Brad Keselowski.  He has had only one top 10 finish and that was at Phoenix.  This is the 2nd race of season where he was out of it early.  Daytona was just a disaster and he finished 41st.  Vegas was a struggle all day for him and he did finish 11th.  And now his latest race…a 31st place finish.  I am not worried though.  Tony has a history of starting off slow, catching fire in the summer and finishing strong.  I mean just take a look at his 2011 campaign.  He had not won a race in the first 26 races and was on the verge of not making the Chase.  And well, we all know he caught fire and scorched the Chase to win his 3rd championship.  So for now, I am not on the ledge or drinking the crazy kool-aid.  Maybe his luck will turn around this week at Auto Club.  He is the defending race champion.

Speaking of Auto Club Speedway, you can purchase a Walmart Family Track Pack for only $99!  You can purchase the pack online via Walmart.com.  If you are headed out to Auto Club this weekend, you might want to checkout some of the Walmart stores in the area.  You can experience Race Time at Walmart which brings NASCAR to life for race fans.  You can see real show cars, experience racing simulations, sample products, and perhaps meet some NASCAR drivers.  There are several WalMarts hosting this experience this weekend in and around Auto Club.  I am not familiar with the area, but here is what I found out for you guys–enjoy!

  1. 3/21/13     10:00-4:00 @ Walmart on 4001 Hallmark Pkwy, San Bernardino CA
  2. 3/21/13     11:30-5:30 @ Walmart on 2050 W Redlands Blvd, Redlands CA
  3. 3/22/13     10:00-4:00 @ Walmart on 3943 Grand Ave, Chino CA
  4. 3/22/13     11:30-5:30 @ Walmart on 17251 Foothill Blvd, Fontana CA
  5. 3/23/13      8:00-2:00 @ Walmart on 1610 S Riverside Ave, Rialto CA
  6. 3/23/13      9:30-3:30 @ Walmart on 12549 Foothill Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga CA

Some final thoughts both NASCAR-related and Non-NASCAR-related…

  • Joey vs Denny–The feud between these two has escalated again after Bristol.  Denny took issue with Joey cutting him off on the race track.  And well, Denny clipped him and spun him out.  From this fan’s point of view, I thought it was just a racing deal.  From what I could remember (I have slept since Sunday), Joey just got out of the groove and ended up in front of Denny.  That’s it.  After the race, Joey went to confront Denny about the incident and well, pushing and shoving ensued with the crews.  As always the media was RIGHT there to capture the events.  I did like one of Denny’s quotes after being asked what Joey said to him in the car window, “He (Joey) said he was coming for me.  I usually don’t see him, so it’s usually not a factor”.  I chuckled a bit on this statement.  With that being said, I am not a fan of Denny Hamlin.  Never have been.  I think he lets the distractions get to the best of him.  A couple of years ago, he had the car to beat in the championship and well, I think all the distractions that come with it, got the better of him and he lost the championship to Jimmie. He can drive the car, don’t get me wrong, I just think he is not the kind of driver I can get behind.  I am anxious to see if Joey will get back at Denny later on in the season.  If it were me, I would wait and then strike!  I’m just sayin’!
  • Commercials–There have been a couple of commercials this year that have made me chuckle.  I like the one where some of the drivers are campaigning for themselves to put them on your fantasy team.  My favorite in this commercial, Kyle Busch.  Just too funny!  Also the Coca Cola road trip commercial with Tony Stewart.  Best part:  Joey giving directions to Tony!  And at the very end, you here that typically statement on a long road trip, “Are We There Yet?” uttered by Greg Biffle (I think).    Don’t get me wrong I have always like the commercials from Budweiser, but the I am played out with the one where the guy raises the horse and then sees him years later pulling the Budweiser wagon.  I swear, they show this commercial on every single commercial break!  Fox–I would prefer more racing than commercials.  I know you have to pay the bills and all that, but sometimes I feel like I get ten laps of racing and ten minutes of commercials.
  • Duck Dynasty–if you haven’t heard of this show or let alone seen it, you have been just living in a cave in my opinion.  This has got to be the funniest show on television at the moment.  These guys take redneck living to a whole new level!  I mean you might be a redneck if you use an old camping trailer to build a new duck blind!
  • Bon Jovi–I was lucky enough to attend the Bon Jovi concert here in Raiderland.  I have been a fan of them since I could remember.  They put on an AWESOME concert!  And I have to admit this was only the 2nd rock concert I have attended.  I am more of country concert person.  Rock concerts are definitely different than your country ones with the exception of Garth Brooks.  He is able to combine both the aspects of a rock concert and a country concert into one.
  • Karate Kid–I love this movie.  I saw it in a movie theatre back in the day with my junior high Spanish club.  I have been a fan of Ralph Macchio ever since.  Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi ROCKS!  But come on CMT, how many times a week do you need to show this movie?  My hubby told me I didn’t have to stop and watch, but…how can you not?  Oh well, as long as you continue to show the movie, I will be there watching!  Wax On, Wax Off!!

Don’t forget…voting is still open through April 8 for you to choose the name of the Pocono 500.  You can head on over at walmarturl.com/FanDriven to cast your vote.  You can only vote once day, every day until April 8.  Looks like “Party in the Poconos 400” has taken the early lead, followed by “Race More. Live Better 400” and “Pocono for the People 400”.  Better hurry, not much time to cast your vote!

Posted in NASCAR 2010, Tony Stewart

The “Bermuda Triangle”

The first race at Pocono this season is in the books.  Pocono is different than the other tracks the drivers go to on the circuit.  You have three turns that are completely different from each other.  And to boot, it is 2.5 miles around the thing.  This can make for a long and at times boring race.  I wasn’t worried about missing part of the race today with my weekly yard chores. I finished the yard work and came in to enjoy the air conditioning and lo and behold Mother Nature struck at Pocono.  This isn’t unusual for Pocono.  Sometimes it could be raining on one part of the track and dry on the next.  I mean afterall it is 2.5 miles around the dang place (oh yea I did mention that before).

Congratulations to Denny Hamlin.  This marks Denny’s 4th win at Pocono in nine starts.  I would have to say Denny knows how to get around the “Triangle”.  From what I saw of the last 80 laps, it was clear who the class of the field was at Pocono.  Even with late race strategies, Denny made his way to the front of the pact along with his teammates Kyle and Joey.  At one point it looked like the JGR team was going to have three cars in the top 5 along with a former JGR driver.  But that wasn’t the case…apparently Kevin Harvick had other ideas about the ending.  Kevin, in his typical Harvick fashion, laid a bumper to Joey and well…that’s where Joey went around.  It looked he was going to keep it from spinning, but the #20 was just too much for Joey.  The fireworks didn’t end there.  Joey definitely wanted to confront Mr. Harvick about his actions.  I have to say good for you Joey.  There are times I wonder what Harvick is thinking behind that wheel.  From what I could see from the replay, this spin did not have to happen.  Of course I wasn’t behind the wheel of the #29 so who am I to say what could or could not have been done to avoid the #29 laying the bumper to the #20.  This is not the first time Harvick has done this and as I can assume it will probably won’t be the last.  Either way, it was good to see Joey stand up and take it to Harvick.  

Quote of the weekend from Joey Lagano…”I don’t know what his problem is with me but it’s probably not his fault.  His wife wears the fire suit in the family and tells him what to do.”

What was the deal with the big crash?  That looked like a crash you see at Talladega not Pocono.  When Kasey came back across the track, you knew it was going to pretty.  Mark and Greg pretty much had nowhere to go.  From the what I could tell, it looked like Kasey was trying to make a move around his teammate and AJ through a block.  A block that pushed Kasey all the way to the grass.  Grass + NASCAR car at high speed = not a good outcome (excluding the “Pass and the Grass” move).  I guess it itsn’t the year for the word teammate. 

Tony finished 3rd.  Tony needed this finish.  He hasn’t exactly been lighting it up on the race track lately.  He has moved up to 13th in the standings.  Next week is Michigan and then on to Sonoma for some road racing at Sonoma.  Tony definitely  can make up some ground and perhaps get back into the top 12 in standings.  I loved his post race interview with TNT.  He wasn’t too upset about his finish considering he won the race last year (his first in the SHR #14).  I also have to chuckle at his beard.  Perhaps Denny, along with Tony’s teammate Ryan, should have used their pull as Gillette Young Guns get Tony a new stash of razors.  And can I just say…NO TO THE MULLETT!  That’s right…JUST SAY NO!  Neither Kyle or Ryan can pull that look off…and to be honest can anyone really pull of that look?

Posted in NASCAR 2009, Tony Stewart

Fireworks!

I can’t believe I haven’t been here in The Park for a few weeks.  It has been somewhat crazy in my life.  I am still adjusting to a new little one in the house, but it has been fun. 

I have been watching quite a bit of NASCAR lately that I haven’t ignored.  There has been some greating racing over the last few weeks and last night was no exception.  I didn’t get a heck of a lot of race watching in because we had some friends over for the 4th.  As we all racing at Daytona doesn’t disappoint the fans.  Because there was a rainout of qualifying and by virtue of the rules, Tony was once again sitting in the cat bird’s seat at the start of the race.  But Daytona is one of those tracks where starting up front doesn’t necessarily give you an advantage. However, it doesn’t hurt.  From the part of the race I did get to watch Tony had everything dialed last night.  After shooting off fireworks outside with friends, family and a few neighbors, I came back in to watch some more fireworks. Tony was clearly headed for his second win of the season in my book, but with a late caution and the laps winding down it looks like it wasn’t going to be easy.  With the double file restarts that put Kyle Busch on the outside of Tony on the front row.  As the green flag dropped they were off.   Klye go around Tony and took the lead and the white flag, but this IS Daytona.  It ain’t over until the checkered flag is flown and the car in lead crosses the finish line.  Tony got behind Kyle in order to make his move.  As Tony moved out from behind the #18, Kyle went to block and that’s when this went crazy.  Kyle clipped Tony’s front bumper and well, into the wall went Kyle as Tony crossed the finish line victorious.  Unfortunately, Kyle got the worse end of it courtesy of Kasey’s #9 and a few other cars.   I was so excited and yes that was me and the rest of the Smoke fans cheering.  Congratulations Tony!

For those out there who may think Tony took Kyle out for the victory are just plain wrong.  It was racing.  We all knew something was going to happen.  Would I have been upset if it was Tony hitting the wall?  I am sure I would have been, but I would hope after seeing the footage I would have seen it was just a racing deal.  I hope that I would have had the objectivity to see that it was racing deal if the tables were turned.  Even in the post race interview with TNT, Tony seemed bothered by the end of the race.  TNT of course didn’t show much post race coverage, but I wonder what Kyle was thinking about the results.  I would hope he would understand like Tony it was racing.  That’s it…racing!  When you have two passionate racers like Tony and Kyle challenging for the win they would understand how things work.  Now matter what they put on a good show.

Now for the last couple of weeks…

  • I loved how the road race turned out.  I would have loved Tony to have one, but I was happy for Kasey.  I mean when you hold off one of the better road racers towards the end, you deserve the win. 
  • Congratulations to Joey Lagano for his first NASCAR win last week at New Hampshire.  I know there are those who think it wasn’t fair to get your first win on a rain shortened race, but who cares.  A win is  a win.  I am sure Joey would have like to continue the race and caputre the win a different way, but Mother Nature had other ideas.   Isn’t part of racing out thinking the other teams?  The leaders had the same opportunity to start out, but they chose to pit.  It’s not like Zippy hasn’t seen a few of these situations before.  I mean he has two championships under his belt.  Besides, Joey would have had to pit if the race had continued.  I thought it was very classy of Tony to come over and congratulate Joey and Zippy. 
  • Doube file restarts have brought a little excitement back into the racing and are going to start playing into some teams’ strategies if they have already.  I still want to see how the double file restarts would fair in trucks.  The trucks already put on some of the best racing around.  Can you imagine what double file restarts would do?
  • Jeremy Mayfield…this is going to get messier before things all settle out.  As I have said before this is going to be interesting to see if NASCAR’s drug policy stands up to scruntiny.  I haven’t said too much about the whole Jeremy saga in The Park, but the only thing that bothers is the fact he didn’t tell NASCAR about the prescription he was taking prior to the drug test.  If anything that can come out of all is that NASCAR can step and reexam it’s drug policies and procedures, then so be it.

I hope to get back on track with things here in The Park now that I have a handle on things on the home front.  I hope everyone had a great 4th of July.

Posted in NASCAR 2008

The Weekend That Wasn’t

I mentioned on Friday that last week I wasn’t too inspired to post about anything, well, I am still sitting here on Monday, a year older, still uninspired.  The weekend had it’s ups and downs.  The things that I wanted to happen in the my little reality didn’t so with that here are the highlights.

1.  Congratulations to Eric Darnell for edging out Johnny Benson by .005 seconds to win the truck race on Saturday.  There were some extra curricular discussion between Kyle Busch, Ron Hornaday, and Kevin Harvick regarding Kyle Busch’s spinning out Ron H. on the final lap of the race.  Never a dull moment with Kyle Busch.

2.  It only took him three races to do it, but Joey Lagano became the youngest driver to win in the Nationwide Series at 18 years and 21 days.  Let’s see what was I doing at that age…not winning in a racing series and earning lots of cash.  I was earning cash, but not all that much.  Let’s see that 2 poles and 1 win.  Kyle had a chance to make the race interesting, but he just lost it and crashed his car.  Congrats Joey!

3.  And of course I musn’t forget to mention the Cup race yesterday.  I didn’t watch too much of the race however.  I know that probably shocks some of you, but yesterday was Postman’s first Father’s Day and of course, my birthday.  So we went to have lunch and do some shopping.  I guess a little family time is more important than any NASCAR race.  I did however catch the last 90 laps or so.  It came down to a fuel mileage race.  I don’t really like fuel mileage races because a lot of times my driver seems to be on the short end of the stick with these.  Congratulations Junior.  You did it.  You won.  It wasn’t what I was hoping for yesterday  since it was my birthday, but it is kind of ironic however.  You would have to know me personally to get the irony of the situation.  Now, maybe we could move on and focus our attention to other things.  I wonder what the media will do this week since they won’t have to remind all of us that Junior hasn’t won.  It looked like Sam Hornish was going to have a good day, but he spun out in the closing laps and finished 22nd.  Tony finished 5th which is good compared to the last few races.  He didn’t win on my birthday, but I will take a 5th place finish any time.  Next week however is a road race and well Tony kicks butt on road courses.  I know there were other things that happened during the race, but I didn’t get to watch as much as I wanted to give a deifinitive recap.

If you love sports as I do, this weekend was a great weekend for sport lovers.  I have already mentioned the racing, but we also had the US Open and the NBA finals.  I am not really into golf.  I usually watch the majors when they are on, but otherwise it doesn’t consume my life.  This weekend was the first tournament Tiger Woods would play in since coming of knee surgery back in April.  Of course this was Tiger and we all know how Tiger plays when there is a major and he didn’t disappoint this weekend.  Tiger came into Sunday with a one stroke lead and by the end of the day he was tied with Rocco Mediate.  Even with a bum knee Tiger is Tiger.  That was a great putt on the 19th yesterday to tie the match.  Today they will have an 18-hole playoff.  I would love for Rocco to pull off the win, but this is what Tiger does.  I may flip over on ESPN 360 later this morning and watch. 

After the US Open, I flipped over to watch a little of the NBA playoffs.  I really don’t have a dog in the fight with this one since the Dallas Mavericks were knocked back in the first round.  However, I want the Celtics to win.  I remember back in the day the classic Lakers and Celtics battles.  I don’t think this one is quite at that caliber, but it has been interesting to watch.  The Lakers have pushed to a game 6 back in Boston on Tuesday with their 103-98 win last night.  Go Celtics!

And finally a couple of non-NASCAR related items…

I would like to say I was saddened to hear about the death of Tim Russert.  I didn’t always watch Meet the Press, in fact I rarely watched it.  But I liked Tim Russert.  He was always challenging the politicians to answer the tough questions.  He was asking the questions we as Americans wanted to ask these politicos.  He will missed.  Rest in Peace Mr. Russert.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Army Wives you are missing out on a great show.  I know some of you might not care to watch a show from Lifetime, but this is an excellent and well written show worth an hour of your time. 

I had a good birthday.  I got to spend it with Postman and Little Smoke.  I am planning on having my birthday festivities with my buddies either this weekend or the following weekend since one group of friends and their kids were on an Alaskan cruise. 

Have a great week!