Day O’ Racing-2013 version

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other tidbits..

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

My final thoughts…

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

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

2011 championship

Rocketman and other items

  • First Tony gets the first win for Stewart Haas Racing last week, now Ryan wins the pole for the Coke 600 on Sunday. Woo Hoo!  
  • Tony qualified 28th for Sunday’s race.  I am not too concerned about Tony’s qualifying spot.  It’s a long race and a lot can happen during that time.  I mean he didn’t exactly start up front at the All-Star race and we all know how that turned out.
  • I see Jeff Gordon received treatment for his chronic back trouble.  I can understand how he must feel.  I have chronic back pains and I know how painful they can be.  Of course, I am sure last week’s crash during the All-Star race didn’t help his back.  It would not surprise me if he continues to have trouble with his back that he retires earlier than he anticipated.  Oh by the way he is starting third.
  • I have to say I am a little tired of all the Jeremy Mayfield situation.  I can’t put my finger on it, but something just doesn’t seem right with this situation.  Could Claritin D been the culprit?  If so, is this the reason NASCAR hasn’t come out and said anything?  I mean after all Claritin D is a sponsor for a major Cup team.  It’s just a thought.  Either way this is going to be interesting to see how NASCAR’s drug testing policies and procedures stand up to scrutiny.
  • And what was up with Jimmie’s new hairstyle?  I do have to say it does distract me from his beard.  It’s not too bad.  In fact he now has the same hairstyle as Little Smoke.

I am so ready for this weekend to get under way.  I mean I will be heading out to the store to pick up supplies for Day ‘O Racing.  I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.  As you are going throughout your weekend enjoying all that food, beverage, sun and of course racing remember what this weekend is truly about.  Stop and take a moment to say “Thank You” to a soldier or a veteran.  For it wasn’t for all the brave men and women in the military, we would be able to enjoy the freedoms we have to day.  Thank you to my dad (Air Force), my father-in-law (Army), my uncles Cecil, Junior, Chris, Bill (Air Force, Marines), my cousin, Joe  (Navy) as well as Mike (Air Force) and Jack (Marines).  You served our country with pride and honor and I thank you.

Day O’ Racing

I hope everyone enjoyed the Day O’ Racing.  

The day started out with the Indy 500.  It was nice to see Jim Nabors back this year singing the traditional “Back Home in Indiana”.  He was sick last year and was unable to make the festivities.  

Congratulations to Scott Dixon for winning his first Indy 500 and doing it from the pole.  Say what you want about Danica Patrick, but she isn’t afraid to let you know how it is going to be.  After getting crashed into along pit road by Scott Briscoe with 29 laps to go.  She got out of the car and headed towards Briscoe’s pit.  Luckily for Briscoe, Danica was directed away before she got to his pit stall.  It would have been interesting to see what she would have done and said once she got there.  In the words of Danica…“Probably best I didn’t get down there anyway.”

After the Indy 500 was over, I didn’t have to wait much longer for the festivities to begin for the Coke 600.  I always get chills during the prerace festivities on Memorial Day weekend.  I loved the bagpipes playing amazing grace and the ultimate salute to our members of the military, the 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.  I wish the people on pit lane would put their hands over the hears when the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner is played.  It just bothers me a little bit.

Now onto the race…

The race started out with Kyle Busch leading the field to the green just as he did last Saturday night.  Early on Kyle Busch began having alternator issues, but as we all know this is a long race and anything can happen.  First part of the race was pretty much uneventful.  I have to give driving props to Juan Pablo.  He spun out without hitting anyone and right across the Circle K logo “I Love This Place”.  I just had to chuckle when I saw this.  I felt bad for Brian Vickers.  He had a great running car, but you just can’t run a race car on three tires.  His tire bouncing all over the place reminded me of that McDonalds commercial with Larry Bird and Michael Jordan shooting hoops…Vickers tire when off the track, off #38’s hood, off the catch fence, over the infield wall, onto the camper roof…nothing but net!  I thought someone was going to have a great souvenir, but the NASCAR people came to take it away.  Party poopers!

The next part of the race begin to fall into place.  Nothing really exciting happened.  Kyle was still having voltage problems but still making his way around the track and staying somewhat competitive.  Sorry for all you Dale Jr. fans (well sort of).  I can’t say that I was upset by this chain of events.  Dale Jr. cut a tire and ended up scraping the wall.  I don’t know if JJ Yeley’s spotter let him know about Dale Jr…but dude…you had to have seen Jr. up against the wall.  Oh yea…it was mentioned that this was probably going to ruin Junior’s chance to get a win.  During this caution, Kyle came in to get his battery switched out.

Once again…Jimmie was making his way through the field and he eventually got to the front of the pack.  This didn’t surprise me one bit, because Jimmie has a way of rising to the top, but just like his teammate it wouldn’t be Jimmie’s night.  Jimmie’s engine decided it had had enough racing for the evening.  With about 50 to go Jimmie’s night was over.  Once again the face of the race changed again.

Well…guess who was in position to lead the race?  That’s right Tony Stewart.  I held my breathe though.  With the way things were working out, I was hoping Tony could pull it through to the end.  He came into the pits around lap 13 to top off with gas so he could make it to the end of the race.  And just like Junior and Jimmie, it wasn’t going to be Smoke’s night.  Damn tires!  I guess that bitch Karma came back to bite Tony is butt.  I think I said every kind of “not so lady-like” words at the television set.  With this set back, this gave the lead to none other than last week’s winner Kasey Kahne.  With his victory, Kasey became only the 6th driver to win both the All-Star Race and the Coke 600 in the same year.  Oh by the way…Kasey broke his 52 race winless streak tonight as well!  And Junior STILL hasn’t won.

With all the problems and struggles tonight, Kyle finished 3rd, Jeff Gordon finished 4th, and Junior finished 5th.  Where did Tony finish?  18th.  Ugh!  I have to give a high five to Elliott Sadler (8th), David Reutiman (10th), Bobby Labonte (11th), David Ragan (12th) and former Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish (13th).  Way to go guys!

Thanks for the memories Humpy! You may be stepping down, but your impact on NASCAR will be felt for years to come.

One more thing…

There were couple of commercials that I have to say made me laugh.  I love the Holiday Inn commercial where Jeff Burton is asked questions by random people.  My favorite question, “How come you don’t have a mullet?”  The look on his face when asked the question is hilarious.  The latest Vitamin Water commercial with Carl Edwards was funny.  Gotta love Ralph Macchio.  I am going to assume this was paying homage to his most role as the Karate Kid.  But of course these commercials don’t even come close to this one by Budweiser.

This commercial does remind me of the first race I went to at TMS. I don’t recall who was on stage at the time performing during the prerace show, but when soldiers were walking out to prepare for other prerace festivites, everyone in the stands stood up and cheered for them including myself. As we continue to move throughout the rest of the night and tomorrow, remember the real reason for Memorial Day. If you see a soldier or know a veteran, stop and say “Thank You”. I would like to say thank you to my Uncle Cecil, Uncle Junior, Uncle Bill, Uncle Chris, my cousin Joe, my father-in-law, and my father. Thank you for serving honorably for our country. I love you all.