Posted in NASCAR 2013

Party in the Poconos 400

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

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

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

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

2011 championship

Some thoughts from the weekend…

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

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

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

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

Posted in NASCAR 2013

The Tricky Triangle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some final thoughts…

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

2011 championship

Posted in NASCAR 2013

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

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 What I know.

At A Loss.

Last post I wrote about NASCAR, I wondered what has gone wrong with the #14 team so far this year.  I am hoping it is just something they haven’t figured out with this new Gen-6 car.  I didn’t watch much of the Kansas race due to the onslaught of out of control weeds in my back yard.  But every time I would pop in during the race Tony was racing between 19-22 place.  I mean it didn’t matter when I came in there he was stuck in that zone.  This is the zone his team has been the last several weeks with his car.  Could it be more than just missing the set up on the car?  Could SHR be stretched too thin with three teams to take care of each week?  Sometimes more doesn’t mean better.  I think if SHR can get Tony’s team on track the other two will fall into place.  I just don’t know any more.

Congratulations to Matt Kenseth for winning Kansas.  He is the third driver in a row to win from the pole position.  I have to say the move from Roush Racing to Joe Gibbs has been a positive move for him.  Sometimes changing jobs can make such a huge difference.  Matt, along with Jimmie and Kyle have two wins this season.  Matt is one of those drivers that tends to quiet but deadly.  At times you say to yourself, where did he come from?  I think he is going to be a force during the rest of the season.

Sorry for not writing too much about NASCAR with this post.  Last weeks’ events in Boston and West have had the country engrossed in news outlets for hours at a time.  This includes me.  I found myself watching things unfold on Monday with the bombings in Boston, through Friday when they were able to apprehend the second suspect in the bombings.  I am proud of the law enforcement entities involved in the bringing this manhunt to a conclusion.  Even though I was saddened by the events in Boston, my heart is with the residents of West, Texas.  I am so proud of my state for banding together to support this town of roughly 2700 people.  If you haven’t been through Texas, you can’t understand the vastness of the state.  We are the 2nd largest state in the union.  You can travel all day and never get out of the state.  It takes about 12 hours to bet from my home in Lubbock, Texas (located in the northern part of the state or square part as some have told me) to the Weslaco which is located near the border of Mexico.  It is closer to Los Angeles from El Paso than El Paso to Beaumont.  In this vastness there are many tiny towns and communities many have never heard of.  West, Texas is just one of those outside of Texas you did know existed until Wednesday night.  I have told people about West and they think I am talking about the West Texas region.  This is a mistake.  I would have to clarify by saying West comma Texas.  I do not have to do this any more.  When traveling in the state Texans think about how long it will take not in miles.  But despite all of this Texas has never been so close.  I am so proud of my fellow Texans for banding together to help the city of West and its citizens to try to recover from this horrific event.  If you are in the Waco area, there will be a memorial for the fallen firefighters and EMTs at the Ferrell Center located on the Baylor University campus.  If you can take time out your day to pay tribute, please do so.  These men were heading into the fire while others were running away from the fire.  The memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm.  I wish I could be there, but even though I can’t I will be thinking about these first responders and their families. God Bless.

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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

Fan Driven 400

I have had an interesting last several days.  First and foremost, I am glad to have some decent internet connection back.  All I have had since the last post was my iPhone.  But I am back on so here goes…

race driven

Just a reminder…TODAY IS THE LAST DAY to pick the name for the Pocono 400 race at Pocono Raceway on June 9, 2013.  I wanted to get a jump on things with the reminder, but as I mentioned above, internet has been crap (guess that’s what I get for living out in the sticks).  So zoom on over to walmarturl.com/FanDriven and cast your vote. Reminder, you can vote once a day, every day until April 8. In case you forgot, here are the top three finalists!

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

Looks Party in the Poconos has taken the commanding lead, but there is still time for you fans of Carrie and Diane so get online at vote!  TODAY IS THE LAST DAY!!

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!

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!

NASCAR hits Texas Motor Speedway this weekend!  I wish I could make the trip since I live only about 6 hours away and I have buddies in the DFW who would probably let me crash on their floor for the weekend.  I have been to TMS and there is ALWAYS something I forget to take with me.  Luckily there is a Walmart on the way to the track!  They have a great array of items for your tailgating needs.  To those newbies out there who are attending your first race this weekend and you want to blend in with all of us other veterans, you can pick up some NASCAR gear at Walmart at too.  I found some Tony Stewart at one of my local Walmarts. These are the items I purchased.  My youngest son, who loves Tony, loved the giant magnet.  It is now prominently displayed on our refrigerator with all the other Tony magnets we have on the fridge.  The other two items are mine…a new sticker for my car and a cup for the beverage of my choice.  Of course if you aren’t a Tony fan, you can pick up your driver’s stuff too.  I found some Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and yes, even some Dale Earnhardt Jr. items.  As we all know his stuff is soooo hard to find (wink, wink).  tony stewart stuff

Some final thoughts…

  • Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson on his win at Martinsville yesterday.  I wasn’t surprised by his win.  Yesterday marked his 8th victory at the track.  Man, that’s a lot of grandfather clocks around his house.  I wonder if he has them set to where they go off at different times of the day.  That would be too funny if he did.
  • I wish Denny Hamlin a speedy recovery.  It had to be one of the most difficult things to sit atop the pit box and watch someone else drive your car.  Granted, Mark Martin is no slouch when it comes to driving a car, but still, it had to eat at him.  Brian Vickers will take over duties in the #11 this week at Texas
  • Danica had a good run at Martinsville.  She finished 12th.  Not bad for her first time at The Paperclip and having to start in the back due to an engine change.
  • I like watching races on Fox.  It’s been a challenge this year since our local Fox affiliate is in dispute with Dish, but we got it go on however.  Towards the end of the race, it sounded like there was some exciting racing, but I wouldn’t know because they kept showing Jimmie Johnson’s car.  I know Clint was trying to catch, but you and I know he wasn’t going to.  We all knew Jimmie was going to win, so why not show the close racing?  Oh well…
  • I am a mom of two boys, very messy boys, but I love them.  I spent most of yesterday cleaning their rooms.  This is the sole reason I missed majority of the race.  If you are raising and/or raised boys, you know my pain.  And don’t even get me started on cleaning their bathroom.  I love men and everything about them, but boys and men are just SMELLY!
  • I hope everyone had a good Easter weekend. Mine was spent with watching “The Ten Commandments”. It is an Easter tradition in my house started with my mom when I was probably my oldest son’s age (he’s nine). Every year we would watch this classic movie. I lost my mom in December 2011 to leukemia so this was the second Easter without her. But…this year was different. My oldest watched with me. At first, I wasn’t sure he would like it. I mean this movie is from 1956. It isn’t on the cutting edge of special effects and sometimes I think the acting is overdone, but I still watch. I was pleasantly surprised, he loved it! And he asked lots of questions about the movie! And one more thing, he watched all of it despite the fact it was way past his bedtime. Thanks mom!

Sorry for the lack of race coverage for the last couple of posts, it has just been one of those things where life takes over and you have to do what you got to do.  I am however, back in the swing of things.  Hope everyone has a great and wonderful week!  And to all of NASCAR Nation…WELCOME TO TEXAS YA’LL!