Posted in NASCAR 2013

Watkins Glen

I survived my first race weekend without seeing Tony Stewart behind the wheel of the #14.  I wasn’t too thrilled about the prospect of someone else driving the #14.  But I have to say Max Papis did an excellent job this past Sunday.  He qualified 29th and throughout the day he made his way up through the field.  Granted he wasn’t tearing it up battling it out for the win, but all in all he did a great job filling in for Tony Stewart.  He finished 15th.  Thank you for your service Mr. Papis.  All of Smoke Nation appreciates you for everything you did on Sunday for the #14 team.  Speaking of Tony Stewart, it has been announced that Austin Dillion will drive the #14 at Michigan this weekend. This move didn’t surprise me in the least. For one he is sponsored by Bass Pro Shops. He has 9 cup starts with two of those being at Michigan. He finished 11th this past June at MIS. I think he will do a good job for Tony. As for the other races in the season, I think we will just have to wait and see.

Now on to the racing this past weekend at The Glen. This is the final road course for the Cup drivers this season. It was no surprise Marcos Ambrose earned the pole for the race. He was the defending race champion. In fact he was going for third win in a row at The Glen. The way the race started out it look like Marcos was going to sew up his third win. However, as we all know things can change quickly in NASCAR. It wasn’t long before Jeff Gordon’s day went from good to horrible. Jeff ended up spinning his car and crashing the #24. This crash was not what Jeff needed. It has not won a race this season and this put his chances of making the Chase this year in jeopardy. It has not been a kind 2013 for Jeff. He fell 4 spots in the standings and now sitting in 13th. He is still on the outside looking in. Right now his teammate Kasey Kahne and SHR driver Ryan Newman are right now holding on to the two wild card spots. If he doesn’t get in the top 10 and stay there, or get a win, the Chase will be without the #24.

Marcos was cruising along throughout the day until the caution came out for his teammate’s crash around lap 60. Drivers were in the middle of green flag pit stops when the caution was thrown. Kyle Busch was one of the drivers who was able to get his pit stop complete prior to the caution. Unfortunately this caution was a turning point in both the #18 and #9 teams. Marcos had to pit under the caution and when things all shook out, Kyle had the lead and Marcos was stalled back in the 12th position. This was going to be the first time in the race that Marcos would have to drive his car in dirty air. Up until that point Marcos had a fast car. But the fastest and the best car of the day doesn’t always win the race. He still had enough time in my opinion to get back to the front to challenge for the win. A few cautions here and there, and he is right there. Unfortunately the changes his pit crew made to the car didn’t help his case any. He wasn’t able to make his way up to the front. He was involved in a late race crash. Marcos ended up finishing 31st. Because of Marcos bad luck, this opened door up for Kyle Busch to take the win at The Glen. Once he got out front, he stayed there. I am sure he was hoping to see things go green for the rest of the race. His crew chief was telling Kyle to save gas and his tires. He had enough gas to get to the checkers, but not the green-white-checkers. Kyle didn’t want to see these cautions even though he would probably help with him saving gas. If the race stayed green he could keep some distance between him and those behind him. Once the cautions flew, this means the field is bunched up and he would have to play a little defense. It didn’t matter on Sunday. Kyle was textbook on his restarts. It was one of those things that it was his day. The Glen hasn’t been too kind to Kyle the last couple of years. Take last year’s race, he was battling with Marcos and Brad K for the win. He ended up spinning out in some oil that had been on the track. All Kyle had to do was hit his marks and keep Brad K. behind him. This was going to be a tall order for Kyle. Brad was able to lay the bumper to Kyle and could have spun him out for the win. According to Brad, he could have spun him, but he didn’t need any more drama. Sometimes you have to take the high road and take 2nd place. Congratulations to Kyle Busch on his win!

I have been trying to get back in the groove with all things NASCAR. It’s been a little bit easier for me since I no longer work full-time. Well, I work full-time, but my office is my home. I don’t get a paycheck and I am “on-call” 24/7, but the benefits definitely out way everything I had while working. But now that I am at home, I am going to try to get back on track with things.

There has een a little news reported today.

  • Brian Vickers has signed on to be the full-time driver for Michael Waltrip Racing beginning with the 2014 season. This comes to no surprise to anyone. I have always liked Brian Vickers. He has had a tough road the last few years in NASCAR. He had to sit out the 2010 due to blood clots. He came back to his Red Bull in 2011 only to see Red Bull close its doors at the end of the 2011 season. He has been driving part-time with MWR sharing his time with Mark Martin. I think he sealed the deal with his win at New Hampshire this year. I am glad to see Brian Vickers back in a car full-time.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya will be out of the #42 car beginning in 2014.  He has been in NASCAR since signing on with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2006.  He has had only two wins in 239 starts.  Both of these wins have been on road courses.  His highest finish in the standings has been 8th back in 2009.  I don’t know if JPM ever adjusted to racing in NASCAR.  Sometimes drivers from other series don’t always fair well in NASCAR.  Sam Hornish struggled when he first came into NASCAR leaving the Indy Series.  He has found a resurgence in Nationwide the last few years.  He is battling for the championship this year.  I am happy he is finding success in Nationwide.  With JPM, this leaves the door open for drivers who do not have a full-time gig in NASCAR.  Could this mean Ryan Newman may have a home next year in the #42 or will AJ Allmendinger find his way back to a full-time ride?  Only time will tell.  Let the silly season begin.

A few observations…

  • Fox Sports 1 launches this Saturday, August 17.  I for one am not sure how I feel about this change.  I like Speed TV.  As I mentioned in my last post, there are shows I will miss once FS1 goes live.  I caught myself watching Barrett Jackson auction last Saturday.  I got to thinking, what happens to all of us fans of Barrett Jackson?  Is FS1 going to broadcast these auctions?  I hope so.  I really like seeing all those classic cars in all their glory!  I wish I had the money to purchase some of the cars especially the ’67 Camaro I saw on the auction block last Saturday night.  It was one sweet ride.  I am going to miss Wind Tunnel with Dave DeSpain.  I DVR’d the last episode that aired last Sunday, but I haven’t been able to watch as of yet.  I think I will watch it later this evening.  Of course, I am not sure if I will get a chance to watch any of the shows once FS1 goes live since I have Dish.  Apparently DISH and Fox Sports is still in negotiation about the finance side of the deal.  So if you are on Dish, DirectTV, and/or Time Warner, there may be a delay for you in watching Fox Sports 1.
  • I kind of cringed on Sunday when I saw the Mobil 1 commercial with Tony.  When I first saw the commercial where Tony does the splits, I was creeped out, but now knowing he has a broken leg it was just weird.  Of course, if you haven’t had a chance to try soda cookies, you should give a go.  I tried it earlier this summer and you know it wasn’t all that bad.  Of course, Oreo cookies are still better with milk.
  • All this debate on whether NASCAR drivers should be allowed to race outside the series is driving me nuts.  Like my husband said, dirt racing is Tony’s golf game.  I don’t have a problem with it.  This is what makes Tony who he is.  This is part of the reason most of us like Tony Stewart.  He is a blue-collar driver.  He is a throw back to the kind of drivers I grew up watching.  I don’t know if I can see Tony not racing on during the week.  I can if maybe scaling back the amount of races he competes in, but totally cutting it out, I don’t think so scooter.

Make sure you tune in tonight for That Dang Ol’ Racing Show on Real Country 98.5 FM here in Lubbock, Texas from 6-7.  I am glad I have a way to get my NASCAR fix during the week.  I am also glad there is a forum for us NASCAR fans out here in Raiderland.  It can be tough for a NASCAR fan this time of year, especially in Texas when the talk turns to everything that is football.  Doesn’t matter if it is high school, college or professional, it’s football, football, football this time of year.  I am pumped for the start of the football season, but I am still in the midst of my NASCAR season.  I am glad to know once a week for about an hour, I can listen to something other than football talk.

Posted in What I know.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Short tracks are my favorite tracks on the circuit.  You get 43 cars in a small arena fighting for the same real estate.  When you hear “going three wide” on a short track, it usually isn’t a good thing.  Short tracks make for some exciting racing, but it also can create some angry and/or hurt feelings during and after the race.  Saturday night was no different at Richmond.  It seemed the fireworks had already started on Friday night after the Nationwide race.  Nelson Piquet Jr kicked Brian Scott, as we say in our household, in the peanuts.  Then members of the RCR Nationwide crew were involved in an altercation outside the track.  Before I get into all “love fest”, I want to talk about the race

Matt Kenseth team’s came into Richmond after receiving severe penalties from NASCAR.  With these penalties, he lost the credit for his pole win.  So with that, Matt Kenseth rolled into Richmond and won the pole!  Up through roughly lap 253, the only two drivers who lead laps was Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer.  In fact at one point early on in the race five of the first 6 spots were held by Toyotas.  Kyle took the lead roughly around 253.  It looked like the Toyotas had everything dialed in to the Toyota Owners 400.  The first non-Toyota to lead during the race was Kurt Busch after the 6th caution on lap 203.  It was fun to watch the Busch brothers race at times.  They are very competitive races and want to win and Saturday was no different.  The Busch brothers are aggressive drivers.  I have seen Kyle do things with his car that leave you thinking, “Did I just see that?”  Kyle is having a good year and Kurt is having a decent year, well compared to where he was last year.  I have called both brothers out on this site for their behavior both on and off the track, but I always have given them props for their driving talents.  BUT…I was none too pleased with Kurt after Saturday night (and to be honest there were others at Richmond who were none too pleased either).

Tony was entering the race mired way down in the points and no top ten finish since the 2nd race of the season at Phoenix.  I was hoping this would a chance for Tony to get back on track as the summer stretch approaches.  He tends to get “HOT” this time of year.  So even though, he is in his worst 8 race start of his career, this Tony fan was hoping for a good result on Saturday.  To my surprise, he was mired in the 20s for a third of the race.  Every time there was a caution, I would track where he was when the yellow flag flew and what position he restarted.  Around lap 171, he reached position 17th!  I was excited.  Perhaps if he managed to get to 17th, he could get in the top 15.  After the 5th caution of the night, Tony restarted 13th!  Wow!  I can’t believe how pumped I was for Tony to be up in 13th position.  I thought maybe as the night when the #14 team had gotten something figured out with his car.  He continued to race in these positions until the proverbial black cat hit.  Tony caused a crash.  He got loose and got into Jimmie.  This put him back down to 24th.  He did come over the radio and took 100% responsibility for the crash.  At this point I thought, this evening is over.  Yes, it was at lap 328 and there was still some racing left, but with the troubles this team has had over the last several weeks I wasn’t optimistic.  I have learned you never can count out Tony Stewart.  Tony was up to 5th for the restart after the final caution of the night.  I couldn’t believe it Tony had a shot at the victory! Restarts can be tricky and this one was going to be no different. It was crazy!  All I saw were cars moving every which way to get their best shot at the win.  And like he is known to do, here comes Kevin Harvick.  With the front-runners bearing down, I really did have hope that Tony would have the chance to win.  Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be thanks to Kurt Busch.  From my viewpoint, it looked like Kurt took Tony out of the groove causing Tony to get loose.  Tony was on his way to the best finish he has had since Phoenix.  Tony finished 18th.   Tony was not happy with Kurt and made no bones about it after the race was over.  Of course, Kurt said he didn’t know what the 14 was upset about.  Really Kurt?  Of course, Tony wasn’t the only who was not happy with Mr. Busch.  I believe Matt K. was upset with him as well.  Oh by the way, Tony left without comment.

Congratulations Kevin Harvick!

Other tidbits…

  • I believe the penalties handed down to Matt Kenseth by NASCAR were harsh.  I know NASCAR are hard asses when it comes to fuel, engines and tires.  But in this case, this was a clear oversight on the people at TRD.  In fact Clint Bowyer’s engines from Richmond and Daytona had rods too close for comfort so TRD pulled them out of use.  Because of TRD’s oversight, JGR suffered the brunt of the penalties.  JGR is appealing the penalties.  Joe Gibbs said he was appealing on the severity of the penalties.  It will be interesting to see how all this shakes out.
  • Can Denny Hamlin make a run for The Chase this year?  He has been sidelined since his wreck at California.with a back injury.  It will be a long road for him.  He will have to rattle off some wins along the way, but there are those who think he can do it.  He begins his journey this week at Talladega.  He has been given the clear the start the race which will allow him to receive the driver points.  Then Brian Vickers will take over the car for the rest of the race.  He is targeting the race at Darlington (May 11) to be his first full race since California.
  • Speaking of Brian Vickers, I am glad he has been given the chance to show what he can do in a Cup car.  Like Denny, Brian knows what it is like to see someone else to drive you car.  During the 2010 season Brian had to step away from his ride due to illness.  He did not return to competition until 2011 season.  He has had a rough time the last couple of years, but I think he is back on track with his career.  He is now running full-time for JGR’s Nationwide program as well as driving for MWR.  Keep on plugging away Brian.
  • Favorite term I hear uttered during the broadcast…”roll bar motel”!  Thanks for making me almost spit Coke-Cola all over the floor Mike Joy!

Some final thoughts…I am returning to work as of tomorrow, May 1.  I was planning to start grad school and being a stay-at-home mom.  Unfortunately, grad school cost money and I don’t get a salary as a stay-at-home mom (even though it is one of the hardest jobs around), so I am headed back to the work force.  It may seem weird, but I really like working.  I like being a mom and being around for my kiddos, but being there is something I get from working in an office.  I am nervous, but excited all at the same time.  Luckily, I am returning to the same employer, Texas Tech University, however it will be in a different capacity.  What does this mean for The Park?  Absolutely nothing.  I just will have to do some of my posts late at night or very early in the morning.  Thanks for riding along with them over the years!

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 2013

The Bullring and Pocono

I have to say I love short track racing. This year it will be a little different new car and somewhat a “new” track.  Remember, Bristol was revamped last year prior to the fall race.

Bristol…where you can seat 160,000 fans, house 43 cars into a track that is 0.533 miles. How can you not expect action in this bull ring?  If you hear the phrase three wide at Bristol, someone is going to get be the odd man out.

So who is the best bet for Bristol?  Of course I always pick Tony to win, but if I had to lay some cash down, I would pick Kyle Busch.  He is sitting on the pole for this weekend’s race.  He laid a lap of 14.813 (129.535) yesterday which broke the previous record held by Ryan Newman (14.908 set in 2003).  In fact, 8 others (including Tony Stewart) laid down a qualifying lap under 15 seconds.  Joey Lagano who qualified 10th had a qualifying time of 15.005.  It safe to say the Gen-6 seems to be fast on this half-mile track.  Of course, that may change once all 43 cars are out on the track.  Still, despite these fast times, I would still place my hard-earned dollars on Kyle Busch to win the race.  He has won the 4 times in the last 8 races.  In total he has 12 wins at the track–5 in Cup, 4 in Nationwide, and 3 in Trucks.  This man knows how to get around Bristol!  Oh by the way, he is racing in the Nationwide race today! And he was atop the leaderboard in the last Cup practice of the day!

race driven

VOTE IS STILL OPEN! HAVE YOU VOTED??? Head on over to walmarturl.com/FanDriven and vote for the name you think should be given to the Pocono 400!  Here are the three names up for consideration for the Pocono 400.

  1. Race More. Live Better 400–submitted by Carrie Conway Wilson
  2. Pocono for the People 400–submitted by Diane Martin Carroll
  3. Party in the Poconos 400–submitted by Shawn McMillan

Looks like Party in the Poconos 400 has taken the early lead, followed by Race More. Live Better 400 and in third, Pocono for the People 400.  If you want your favorite to win, you need to race on over and VOTE!

You can vote once day, every day until April 8 to vote for your favorite!  Also just a reminder you can attend the Pocono race on June 9, 2012 for JUST $25!  That’s a FABULOUS deal!  You better get on these tickets fast, because there are only a limited amount available at the price!  You can purchase your tickets on-line at Walmart or Pocono Raceway.

Headed to Auto Club Speedway next weekend and don’t have a lot of cash to spend?  You and three other people can attend the race for just a cool $99!  That’s right, you can purchase a Walmart Family Track Pack which includes 4 tickets to the Cup race, 4 hot dogs, and 4 Coke Sodas.  So head on over and take advantage of this deal at Walmart!  This isn’t the only race of the season you can get a Walmart Family Track Pack.  So if you don’t live in and around Auto Club Speedway, you can still take advantage of this special ticket deal!

Other tidbits…

  • Head on over to Bad Groove and read about her adventures in Vegas!  I am glad some of what happened in Vegas escaped Vegas.  I have to live vicariously through her and her friend Misty’s adventures!  Very good read! Thanks for sharing!
  • I don’t know if you have seen it or not, but if have, the Jeff Gordon test drive was interesting.  I saw it all over Facebook.  If not check it out.  I am sure you can find on You Tube or Facebook, or somewhere.
  • Jeremy Clements has been reinstated by NASCAR after serving a two-race suspension for disparaging remarks he made several weeks ago.  He seems remorseful for his racial slur he made during the Daytona race weekend.  He is back on track this weekend.

Attention this is has nothing to do with NASCAR, but wanted to share!  I am headed to the Bon Jovi concert tomorrow night in Raiderland!  I have been a fan of them since I can remember!  I have always wanted to see them in concert.  But for whatever reason have not had the finances or do not live close to a concert venue…until now!  My hubby made a comment a couple of years ago about Bon Jovi.  He told me if they were to ever come to Lubbock he would get me tickets and go with me!  Well, right after I bought tickets for the George Strait concert, it was announced Bon Jovi was coming to Raiderland!  OMG!  So, my hubby had to eat his words so to speak.  I did manage to get tickets to the concert, but he is not going with me.  Instead one of my fellow Bon Jovi buddies is going with me!  Thanks hubby for sitting with our two boys and letting me have a girls night out with Bon Jovi!

Posted in NASCAR 2013

Pocono 400 and Vegas too

race driven

Before I visit Vegas, let’s take a quick visit to Pocono…

I have posted about a wonderful contest sponsored by Walmart and Pocono Speedway the past several weeks.  Fans would be given the opportunity to name the Pocono 400 race on June 9, 2013.  Fans were able to submit their names for the name via walmarturl.com/FanDriven.  Three finalists have been chosen and now it is your turn to help these NASCAR fans. Before you head on over to vote, here are the three finalists.

  1. Race More. Live Better–submitted by Carrie Conway Wilson
  2. Pocono for the People–submitted by Diane Martin Carroll
  3. Party in the Poconos–submitted by Shawn McMillan

As I mentioned, you can vote via walmarturl.com/FanDrivenYou are able to vote once a day, every day until April 8!  So head on over and help choose the name of the Pocono 400.  By the way, I have already voted today!

If you are thinking about heading to Pocono, you can take advantage of great offer.  You can purchase tickets for the race on June 9 for ONLY $25!  That’s right!  ONLY $25!  You better hurry though, there will only be 16,000 of these specially priced tickets. These tickets can be purchased at Walmart.com/NASCAR or through Pocono Raceway at poconoraceway.com/

Now back to Vegas…

If looked at the odds (shameless use of Vegas cliché), Jimmie Johnson had the best chance to win on Sunday.  After all he has won 4 times at Vegas.  To be honest early on I thought Jimmie was going to run away with the race.  But as we all know, you can lead the most laps and have the fastest car of the day and not win.  Clearly Kasey Kahne had the car to beat most of the race.  He was up front and racing for the win.

Several drivers were complaining their car was loose including Tony Stewart.  If you know Tony Stewart, if he is complaining about a loose race car, things aren’t going to great.  And that is what happened.  It went south for the #14 team early on.  He stayed pretty much mired back in 23/24 place most of the day.  However, he was able to get the lucky dog after the caution flew for Bobby Labonte’s spin.  I don’t think at that point in the race he had the car to win the race.  I just wanted him to have a decent finish.  And he ended up finishing 11th.  I know it had to be frustrating for him.  He has the third highest driver rating over the previous 8 races at Vegas. He was also the defending race champion.  But as you know Vegas can be cruel to her visitors.

Congratulations to Matt Kenseth and the #20 team!  I like Matt Kenseth and I am thankful he ended up in a great organization.  The #20 still holds a special place in my heart.  It was the ride for Tony Stewart until he left JGR to form Stewart Haas Racing.  I was none too thrilled when Joey Lagano took over his #20.  But when it was announced last year that Matt Kenseth would take over the #20 I was pumped.  Matt Kenseth is a great driver.  I knew he would get that #20 back to Victory Lane!  This was Matt’s third race in the #20.  The sure joy in his voice when he got those checkers was great!  And of course, this was a great way to spend your birthday…in Victory Lane!  I don’t think this will be the last visit to Victory Lane for the #20 this year.

The talk was about how the Gen-6 car was going to perform on the first of the 1.5 mile tracks.  Several drivers complained of the car being loose.  Was it the car itself?  I know that many crew chiefs couldn’t have missed the mark.  Was it the track?  The drivers in pre-race interviews said they thought the track was going to be hot and slick and well fast.   It seemed track position was important in this race as well. Once a car got out in front, he was gone.  Many drivers received penalties for speeding and/or uncontrolled equipment.  Kyle Busch got tagged for speeding early on in the race.   He finished 4th.  I am not a huge fan of Mr. Busch, but that man can wheel a race car.

Few other tidbits…

  • Thank you NASCAR.  I, along with many other fans, have had issues with Raceview.  I sent an email last week to voice my concerns and politely asking for a refund.  This week, I received an email from NASCAR.com stating I had been refunded $9.95.  That is equivalent to a monthly charge for Raceview.  I know it may not seem like a lot, but it for me it went a long way.  And…I was able to log in to Raceview!  I did have some issues, but I don’t think it was on NASCAr.com’s end, but mine.  My internet access was sporadic during the day.
  • I so want to go to a race in Vegas!  My buddy over at http://www.badgroove.com/ makes an annual pilgrimage to Vegas every year.  Every time she goes, she has a blast along with her friend Misty.  One of these days, I will make the pilgrimage to Vegas!  I can’t wait to read her post about her Vegas vacation.
  • The “what the heck what were they thinking” moment of the race came when NASCAR threw a caution when Marcos Ambrose spun his car.  His car started spinning and Marcos was able to get it back going right and headed back onto the track.  No other cars in sight.  I don’t get it.  Of well…that is NASCAR.
  • Denny Hamlin was fined $25,000 by NASCAR this past week for his comments about the Gen-6 car after the Phoenix race. He is refusing to pay the fine. I read what he said on ESPN.com and to be honest I didn’t see anything disparaging about his comments. It wasn’t like he got out of his car and said the car sucked ala Kyle Busch.  But NASCAR has worked tirelessly on the Gen-6 car.  I can understand their point of view too.  Here is what I found on ESPN.com, you can judge for yourself.

“I don’t want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our Gen-5 cars,” Hamlin told reporters after the race won by Carl Edwards. “This is more like what the Generation 5 was at the beginning. The teams hadn’t figured out how to get the aero balance right.  “Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th place with 30 [laps] to go, I would have stayed there — I wouldn’t have moved up. It’s just one of those things where track position is everything.”

  • My youngest is still continuing to amaze me with his continuing fascination with NASCAR.  I was listening to Tony on the scanner on Sunday.  With his PBJ sandwich in hand, he climbed up on my lap and put in the earplug and started listening.  Check him out…chase with pbj

This week the boys are headed out to Bristol for some short track racing!  Once again a new test for the Gen-6 car.  Have a great week everyone!