New Directions

Life has changed quite a bit since March 27 (the date of my last entry).  This blog as a way to relax and well, talk about NASCAR.  Along the way I have met some incredible people who share the same passion for the sport that I have.  I spent a few years religiously dedicated to posting here in The Park.  But as we all know life has a funny way of changing your life.  Since starting the blog back in April 2005, my husband and I have adopted two wonderful boys and I lost both my parents in 2011.  I have had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows over the past 7 years.  But I am on my way to bigger and better things.

I was finally able to watch “The Definitive” which profiled Tony Stewart.  I had DVRed it back on March 1, but didn’t get a chance to watch it until today.  See that’s how crazy my life has been over the past couple of months.  It reaffirmed why I love being a Tony Stewart fan.  I like the fact that he speaks his mind and makes no apologies about it.  You want to know what he thinks about something he will tell you.  He doesn’t give you some watered down, politically correct answer.  He isn’t afraid of mixing it up on the track either.  He has this swagger that just can’t be beat.  I learned today that he had 6 DNFs his 2002 championship season.  That’s right I said 6 AND he still won the championship that year.  Of course this is the same man who man handled last year’s chase to win his third championship.  I would love to sit down with him for an hour and just talk with him.  I don’t think I would even ask him about NASCAR.  I would love to visit with him about his passion for his dirt track and his other racing endeavors.  I think that is the heart of Tony Stewart.   I am not saying he doesn’t love to race in NASCAR, but from what I have seen and read, his dirt track racing seems to be where he has the most fun.  Of course, this is just from my perspective as a fan.  It’s clearly obvious when you watch him work and race during his Prelude To The Dream event he has ever year at Eldora Speedway.  In fact, 2012 Prelude is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6.  I have ordered it every year that it has been on pay-per-view.  Since it is close to my birthday (June 15), it is one of my birthday presents from my hubby.  Of course, I would love to attend the Prelude in person, perhaps maybe next year.  Either way, I love watching it from start to finish.  It is like watching Little League baseball.  There is no racing for points and all that other stuff.  It’s just for the pure joy of racing!  So if you haven’t ordered it, get thee to your cable company and hook yourself up.

Charlotte was not kind to Tony last week.  It just wasn’t his night.  This week Tony heads into Dover sitting in 9th place in the points with 2 wins under his belt.  I am hoping he can get back on track this week.  He has two wins at Dover.  In 2011, Dover wasn’t kind to him either.  In the first race he started 27th and finished 29th.  The fall race wasn’t much better…he started 28th and finished 25th.  But as we all know the summer is usually when Tony starts lighting it up on the track.  Qualifying is Saturday with the race scheduled for a 1:30 EST start on Sunday.   Good luck Tony!

Sqare peg…round hole

That’s what it feels like it times.  I am the square peg trying to get through that round hole.  Not matter how much I try it doesn’t seem to fit.  It was a rough day at work.  No matter what I did today someone somewhere was mad, angry, and not taking responsibility for their choices.  I am trying to teach Little Smoke about taking responsibility for his bad choices.  This is a difficult thing to teach a 6 year old, but I am doing my best.  In my line of work I see those who blame others for their bad decisions instead of taking responsibility.  It’s just very frustrating, but I carry on as I do…after all tomorrow is another day. 

I am very excited about tomorrow.  I get to see Jeff Dunham in concert tomorrow.  If you don’t know who Jeff Dunham is, you need to travel on over to You Tube and type in “Jeff Dunham”.  I guarantee you will laugh until it hurts.  Maybe that’s what I need to get over today’s hellish day of work.  It’s going to be a great concert!

I missed the Cup boys this past weekend, but I did catch the Nationwide race up in Montreal.  I felt so bad for Marcus.  On the last turn of the last lap…it just sucks.  But I have to applaud him for his professionalism as ESPN interviewed him after the race.  Yes, it was brief, but very professional.  I wonder how Kyle would have reacted if he was the one in Marcus’s situation.  I think we can all guess what would have happened.  Labor Day weekend is upon us my friends and that means racing under the lights on Sunday at Atlanta.  This is going to be interesting.   There is only Atlanta and Richmond until the final 12 are set for the last 10 races.  I really want to see Mark Martin in the Chase.  It would just suck if he wasn’t there.  I am pretty ambivalent about Kyle. 

Congrats to Brad K. for signing with Penske and the #12 team.  I think he will have success over there with the #12 team.  He has proven he can drive with the big boys.  I am sure Mr. Hendrick will still be keeping his eyes on the young man.  It wouldn’t surprise me if in a few years that Brad returns to drive for HMS.

Don’t forget all you Tony Stewart fans, the Prelude to the Dream is scheduled to run next Wednesday, September 9.  It was originally scheduled for June, but due to Mother Nature it was postponed until next Wednesday.  So head on over to your pay per view channels and order your Prelude.

Got Dirt?

There was plenty of dirt to be had last night in Rossburg, Ohio home of Eldora Speedway.  Last night Eldora Speedway hosted the Prelude to the Dream.  Once again I ponied up the money to watch this event on pay-per-view since I wasn’t able to make the trek up to Ohio. Last year’s event was a blast to watch so I was expecting it to be the same this year and it didn’t disappoint.

Several of your NASCAR favorites were there (sorry Junior Nation, Junior wasn’t one of those in attedance).  You had the likes of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, along with Red Farmer, and two drivers from the NHRA , Cruz Pedregon and Ron Capps willing to step out of their prospective comfort zones to spend time getin’ all “dirtied” up for a worthy cause.  The proceeds were to benefit the Tony Stewart Foundation who regularly donates to the Victory Junction Gang camp.  This year Tony wanted to raise $1 million to kick start the 2nd Victory Junction Gang camp that will be located in the Kansas City area. 

Now on to the festivities…

I consider myself to a well informed blogger, but sometimes I just know things.  First we had a qualifying session where Dave Blaney beat out everyone for the pole and set a new track record at 15.436 seconds beating the old record held by none other than track owner Tony Stewart.  I don’t know what this was for to be honest.  I am going to assume it was to set the order for the three qualifying heats or the feature main.  I really don’t know.  So if any of my regular readers know, please explain.  Anyhow, once qualifying was over, there were three qualifying heats.  The top three transferred into the feature main, but I think everyone that was invited to the Prelude was in the race.  I was so confused by it all.  But even so there was quite a bit of racing…and not just driving around in a circle.

The first heat was the most action packed with JJ Yeley spinning and collecting Mark Martin and Aric Armirola.  Unfortunately that was all the racing Mark would be able to do.  They were unable to repair his car and get him back for the feature main.  The winner of the first heat was Clint Bowyer which is no surprise here.  He owns his own dirt track team and in fact owned the car Jimmie JOhnson was driving last night.  The second heat had what I called some of the heavy hitters.  Heat 2 lineup: Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Kenny Wallace, Bill Elliott, Cruz Pederegon, Kasey Kahne.  As no suprise to anyone, certainly not me, Tony Stewart won the 2nd heat.  The third heat winner was Robby Gordon.

Once the qualifying heats were over, it was on to the big race.  It was a 30 lap shootout for all the marbles.  There were only two leaders in this race, Kevin Harvick who lead lap one and Tony Stewart who lead the other 29 laps.  Even though Tony was giving a clinic on how to run on dirt, it was fun to watch.  I enjoyed watching Robby Gordon race.  You would have thought Robby raced quite a bit on dirt, but not the case.  He has raced on dirt, but not in a circle.  Last night was his first time to drive on a circle of dirt.  And where did Robby finish…that would be 2nd place.  Not bad for a first timer.  Robby wasn’t the only first timer at the Prelude.  Two-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was on hand driving one of Clint Bowyer’s cars.  I couldn’t understand why he was driving a white car.  I mean a white car on dirt.  Doesn’t sound like a good combo to me.  I am pretty sure the car didn’t stay completely white after the race. 

Kyle Busch also raced, but didn’t do fair as well as he did last year.  He almost won last years event.  He still drove like he stole it though.  He did hit the wall during his qualifying heat, but the car’s crew was able to repair the damage car to get him ready for racing for the feature main.  He wasn’t just standing by either, he had hammer in hand pounding out sheet metal.

The racing was good, but the best part of the event were the drivers.  You could tell these boys were having fun.  This race wasn’t about points or a championship.  It was all for fun!  You got to see them in an environment where the racing was about having a good time.  The drivers were smiling and laughing with one another.  To me, this is what racing should be about.   Another highlight of the evening was driver introductions.  It was funny to watch them trying to get the drivers corralled–kinda of like herding cats.  Some of them looked like they had no clue they were being introduced to the audience.  They were to busy talking with other drivers, etc.  I can tell this wasn’t your typical NASCAR driver introduction.  The only resemblence to a NASCAR driver introduction were the boos I heard when they introduced Jeff, Jimmie, and Kyle.  Even in Rossburg, Ohio, these three get majority of the boos.

I don’t know if I mentioned it but Tony Stewart walked away with the trophy last night and Kyle Petty walked away with a $1 million check from Tony Stewart. 

I would have to give major props to Tony Stewart for all the work he has done with regards to the Victory Junction Gang camp.  I believe this is the 3rd million dollar check he has presented to the Pettys.  Say what you want about Tony, but he truly gives of himself with regards to his foundation as well as Victory Junction.  I don’t know Tony personally, I only know what I read about him.  I do know majority of us see Tony for his on track personality, but last night was what the real Tony is all about.  So if you didn’t get a chance to watch this year’s Prelude last night, check out when they show it on Speed later this year.  I definitely say it was worth my $25.