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!

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!

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!

Wednesday Musings

I have been debating whether or not to post about the Phoenix race.  I didn’t get to watch majority of the race and what I saw was here and there.  Because my husband in a letter carrier with USPS, he had a rare Friday and Saturday off.  This means lots of family time for us and that is exactly what happened this past weekend.  With that being said, I did keep track of the race and saw the last 60 laps of the race.  Congratulations to Carl Edwards!  After last year’s season, this was a welcome surprise for him.

I have been perusing the websites looking for something to write about today.  A couple of things have caught my eye.  One of those items came out of Texas Motor Speedway yesterday.  Eddie Gossage announced yesterday the National Rifle Association (NRA) will sponsor the April 13 Cup Race at TMS.  I do not like to discuss my political views on my blog.  My political views are my own and this is not the purpose of this blog.  I will say, I believe you should have the right to own a gun.  This doesn’t mean everyone should own a gun.  I grew up with a father who taught me the value of gun safety and what it meant to be a gun owner.  I am a gun owner.  I own two rifles, one of them is my grandfather’s and the other is my father’s.  I do not have them loaded and I do not keep ammunition in the house.  They have not been fired in years.  I keep them away from my children.  I will do exactly what my father did when I was curious about the rifles.  I do know Eddie Gossage is sensitive to the recent events in Newtown.  If you have not seen a race at Texas, the winner gets a set of guns and a cowboy hat.  The winner gets to shoot blanks in Victory Lane.  Eddie Gossage has stated if a Cup Team or owner is opposed of this celebration, it will be altered.  If you do not like the NRA, that is your choice as well as being a member of the NRA.  I am not here to debate this issue.  If you are visit often, please respect my wishes.  Thank you.

Another story that caught my eye was one about Christmas Abbott.  Who is Christmas Abbott?  I didn’t know either until I saw her story on Headline News.  She is the first woman to work for pit crew at the highest level of NASCAR.  She is currently the front tire changer for Michael Waltrip Racing.  She is the 8th crew member for MWR and will work as the front tire change for Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series teams.  I applaud her effort to break into the male dominated world.  She may not get the amount of coverage like Danica Patrick, but she is making her mark on NASCAR.

Now on to Vegas…

Tony Stewart is the defending race champion.  Last year was the first time he had won a race at Vegas.  In 2011, he was thisclose to winning it, but finished up as runner-up.  Not to use a Vegas cliché, the odds look good for Tony this weekend.  Tony has the 3rd best driver rating in the last 8 races at Vegas behind Jimmie Johnson (who has the highest and 4 victories at Vegas) and Jeff Gordon.  Tony has also led 290 laps out of the 534 laps in the last two races.  So if you are a betting person, I would put it all on Tony.  But watch out Jimmie Johnson is in the zone.  He finished 1st at Daytona and 2nd last week.  And as mentioned above, he has 4 wins at Vegas.  The Cup teams will be able to get some extra time in Gen 6 car.  Teams will have a full day of testing on Thursday.

If you are headed to Vegas or you are already there, check out some Race Time events sponsored by Walmart.  These events will be held at the following Walmarts in the Las Vegas area March 6, 7, & 8 according to the following website www.walmart.com/NASCAR.  These events bring NASCAR to life. So stop on by and check out it!

March 6:

  • 6005 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas   10:00-4:00
  • 5198 Boulder Hwy, Las Vegas      11:30-5:30

March 7:

  • 4505 W. Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas    10:00-4:00
  • 8060 W. Tropical Pkwy, Las Vegas        11:30-5:30

March 8:

  • 1807 W Craig Rd   11:30-5:30

If you are headed to the races this weekend don’t forget to stop by Walmart for all your tailgating needs.  I have been to several races Texas Motor Speedway and I always make a point to stop and get stocked up before heading out to the race.  did you leave home without your favorite Tony Stewart shirt and don’t want to pay all those high prices, don’t fear Walmart can help you out.  In fact, Walmart was the first place I looked when needing a new Tony Stewart shirt.  I can’t say it will bring your driver any luck, but I know you can get some responsibly priced NASCAR merchandise at Walmart.  IMG_1735

Want to make it to a race, but can’t spend that much money.  Walmart is offering Family Track Packs for select races this year.  You can get a 4 tickets, 4 Coke Sodas, and 4 hot dogs for only $99!  That’s right $99!  The next race you can take advantage of this opportunity is the race at Auto Club Speedway on March 24, 2013 and then the Southern 500 at Darlington on May 11.  You can head on over to www.walmart.com/NASCAR to purchase the $99 packages

Now for a little fun…

  • Got some free NASCAR swag last week in the mail, a Kyle Busch cup and a Jimmie Johnson calendar.  Would have loved some Tony Stewart stuff, but I don’t care.  I love me some free stuff!IMG_1840
  • I love being a NASCAR fan.  Being a NASCAR fan, is different from being a fan of other professional sports teams.  I feel as if all the NASCAR fans are part of a family and the last couple of weeks no different.  I was able to hook up another Tony Stewart fan with a copy of NASCAR Illustrated with Tony on the front.  She wasn’t able to locate any in her part of the country (California), but I was here in Texas.  I also found a set of tiny SHR race cars for her as well.  I thought she might like them.  I didn’t expect anything in return.  It was just one Tony Stewart fan helping out another Tony Stewart fan.  To my surprise, she sent me a Tony Stewart car to me.  That’s just how we are!  Thanks Amy!

IMG_1807

  • My youngest loves Tony Stewart.  He is his favorite driver (go figure).  Every Sunday, I ask him the same thing…what day is it?  Race Day…Who is going to win?  Tony Stewart!  However, he added a little to this the morning of the Daytona 500.

chase with tony mag

Daytona and Other Musings

Beginning on Valentine’s Day with Media Day through yesterday’s Daytona 500, I can say it has been an interesting Speedweeks 2013.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  This was probably the first time in a long time I followed everything that was NASCAR during Speedweeks.  I found craving anything NASCAR.  I came across several NASCAR events over on ESPN Classic.  I loved watching previous Daytona 500s.  It was fun to see the cars, the drivers, and yes, the racing.  Coverage of the sport has come so far since some of those 500s.  despite what Daytona 500 I was watching, they all ended the same way, the winner experiencing the biggest joy of their racing career.  It was awesome to see!

I had waited all winter to see the Daytona 500.  I had settled in with my snacks and media setup.  After some delays with NASCAR.com, I was able to get my Raceview set up.  This was going to be a historic Daytona 500.  A week ago Sunday, Danica Patrick because the first women to win the pole at Daytona. This was the first points race of the season with the new Gen 6 car.  it was just going to be one of those days.  I was hoping Tony Stewart would get his first Daytona 500 victory.  The day before he had won the Nationwide race tying Dale Earnhardt Sr with 7 wins in Nationwide races at Daytona.  It was a very subdued celebration for Tony due to the chaos of the crash.  I am still processing all that happened on Saturday.  Much has been said about the crash that occurred on Saturday.  I just remember seeing Kyle Larson’s car and wondering where the front part of his car was.  Then we all knew.  His engine and one of the front tires was in the catch fence.  His other front tire and what seemed to be part of the axle (I think that is what was still attached) landed several rows into the grandstands.  Even though parts of debris landed in the stands, the catch fence did it’s job.  It kept Kyle’s car from entering the grandstands.  It was just so surreal.

I was hoping for more of the same from Tony Stewart on Sunday.  The Daytona 500 has been so elusive for Mr. Stewart.  For some reason he has the car to beat on Saturday, but he seems to be snake bit on Sunday.  The race started out great.  It seemed everyone was minding their Ps and Qs.  But around lap 35 that all changed. From what I could tell from the replays, Kyle Busch got into the back of Kasey Kahne.  Kasey ended up spinning in front of the field.  It looked like Tony was going to make it through, but next thing I know Kevin Harvick gets into Tony.  Another Daytona 500 gone!  Let’s just say this was NOT A HAPPY TONY STEWART FAN!  I don’t normally throw electronic equipment, but in the air my iPad went.  I had to restrain from saying some very choice adult words due to my children in the room.  But none the less Tony’s day was done more or less.  I have to give major props to his crew for getting him back out on the track to get those precious points.  As we all know, EVERY SINGLE POINT counts in Cup.  What was even cooler, was Tony was helping his crew out on the repairs.  (Photo courtesy of Stewart-Haas Racing Twitter Account)

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Even though Tony was knocked out early in the 500, his Stewart Haas Racing teammates had a much better day.  Ryan Newman finished 5th and Danica finished 8th.  All in all the SHR team had a good Speedweeks.  Thanks to Newman’s finish in the top 5, everyone can get a Bloomin’ Onion at Outback!  Of course once race does not make a season.  There are still 35 races left in the season.

I can’t even describe what I felt on Saturday while watching the Nationwide race.  On one hand I was excited for Tony’s victory and on the other I was concerned with the drivers and the fans.  When I first saw the crash happen I didn’t know Kyle Larson’s car had ended up into the catch fence.  All I saw was half of his car and wondering where the rest of the car ended up.  I had never seen anything like that before.  Then we all knew.  The rest of his car ended up in the stands as well as the catch fence.  Tony Stewart is a class act.  I know as much as he wanted to celebrate his victory and revel in tying Dale Earnhardt Sr, he was more concerned about the fans in the grandstands.  I also have to give major props to ESPN in staying with the story despite the fact they were bumping up against the North Carolina and North Carolina State basketball game.  But the biggest props goes to SPEED television and their crew.  They did an excellent job in reporting this fluid story.  NASCAR does everything in its power to protect everyone at the track from fans, to crew members, and to drivers.  Even with all the safety devices and procedures in place, NASCAR is still a dangerous sport.  Drivers know this.  The catch fence did its major job, preventing a race car going at close to 200 mph from entering the grandstands.  Yes, parts of the car did end up in the stands, but this could have been so much worse.  The engine and one of the tires remained in the catch fence.  Thoughts and prayers are with those fans who were injured.  I am hoping for a speedy recovery for them.

Here are some other tidbits from Daytona.

  • Danica Patrick was the belle of the ball in Daytona. Yes, she receives quite a bit of media attention.  But look at what she accomplished during this Speedweeks:  winning the pole for the 500, lead a lap during the 500, raced in the lead pack most of the day, and briefly had a shot to win.  She finished 8th in the 500.  That is the best finish int he 500 since Janet Guthrie in 1980.  She finished 11th.
  • Congrats to J.J. Yeley for his top ten finish yesterday.  This means Kids Eat Free at Golden Corral today!  With two kids I was going to take advantage of it today, but with blizzard conditions out here in Raiderland, looks like grilled cheese sandwiches tonight.
  • Little Keelan Harvick is such a cutie!  He was Daddy’s little good luck charm for the Spring Unlimited & the Dual race.  Unfortunately that was it for little Keelan.  Daddy was collected in the early crash that took at Tony.  Even though Kevin didn’t make history, I think he will be a force this season.
  • Not a fan of Rusty Wallace.  While watching the pre-race show for the Nationwide race, he stated he didn’t understand why Dale Jr. was racing in the Nationwide race.  Wasn’t the goal for Junior to win a Cup championship and shouldn’t that be his focus?  Rusty also asked was is it his duty to help build the Nationwide Series or win the championship.  He just didn’t understand why he was doing all this stuff.  Seriously?  Why is he calling out just Junior?  Why not call out Tony Stewart?  I mean Tony was racing in Nationwide on Saturday.  He also own a Cup team.  He also has Tony Stewart Racing and Eldora Raceway.  Plus he races at other tracks when he is not racing in Cup.  Seriously Rusty…ugh!
  • To borrow from a Mac Davis song (Happiness is Lubbock, Texas)…hey Carl, what is the best view of Daytona?  In your rearview mirror.  Man Daytona wasn’t kind to Carl.  He was involved in 5 crashes (4 during Speedweeks and one during testing in January).

And finally the “Fan Driven 400” at Pocono Speedway!  Today is the deadline for submitting idea for the name of the June 9, 2013 race at Pocono.  You can submit your idea at walmarturl.com/FanDriven.  Three submissions will be chosen and fans can vote from March 11 to April 8.  additional information about other ways to be involved in the “Fan Driven 400” check out my post at https://trixiestrailerpark.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/fan-driven-400/.  Good luck! 

Sprint Unlimited

Finally, the NASCAR season has begun.  Cars are out on the track and not just testing or practicing, they are racing!  The Sprint Unlimited began back in 1979 as the Busch Clash and then to the Bud Shootout in 1998.  No matter what it is called it is the start of the NASCAR season for us in NASCAR nation.  This was the first race in which we would see how the Generation 6 car would respond to race conditions.  In order to be eligible for the race, drivers had to have won a pole in 2012.  Unfortunately this left out the NASCAR champion, Brad Keselowski and runner-up Clint Bowyer.  If you didn’t win a pole last year, you had to been a past winner of the race as well to be eligible.  This left the field with only 19 drivers for the race even though 22 drivers were eligible.  Three drivers who did not race was AJ Allmendinger, Bill Elliot, and Ken Schrader.  This race was also fan driven (no pun intended).  Fans got to decided the length of each race segment (we chose 30/25/20), the number of tires to used during the pit stop after the first segment (we chose 4 tires) and if any drivers would be eliminated after the second segment (we chose none).  And finally those fans who were attending the race we able to set the starting lineup by choosing from 3 choices and we chose the number of poles each driver won from 2012.  With all that being said, the Sprint Unlimited started out with a bang and then a whimper.

I was anticipating a good race even with just 19 drivers in the mix.  The Gen 6 car was untested in race conditions.  Everything was looking good for segment one Tony was moving through the field and heading to the front.  Matt Kenseth was in the lead.  Tony saw a chance to move down the track through a window of an opening and boom.  Tony didn’t quite clear Marcos Ambrose and this set off a 7 car crash which pretty much took out most of the field. Tony was able to save his car, but took out most of the competition the rest of the night.  I guess that’s one way to win the race.  All kidding aside Tony was able to win the first segment.  I thought this was a good sign.  After coming down for the mandatory pit stop after the first segment, Tony, I believe, came out of the pits third with future teammate Kevin Harvick coming out first.  Segment two wasn’t much to talk about.  There was a dicey moment when Joey Lagano’s car got loose and bumped Tony who in turned got into Dale Jr.  But other than that, it was pretty much dominated by Kevin Harvick.  As we headed towards the end of the last segment, I thought the drivers would turn things up.  I mean this was Daytona and this was a non-points paying event and well, as I mentioned this was racing at Daytona.  Tony tried to make a move on Kevin with a few laps left, but Kevin came down in front of Tony.  I thought those two were going to the front.  Greg Biffle then started to make his move and Kevin moved back up the track to get in front of him.  This caused Tony to lose the momentum he had gained.  Then it was over with Kevin Harvick as the winner.

I have to say I thought the race was anticlimactic.  I had planned all week for this race.  I carved out my time for Saturday.  I had my little media area prepped for the race.  I was even going to send the kiddos away for about 4 hours so I could enjoy the race.  But just like racing, a yellow flag was thrown because of debris.  We got a last-minute birthday party invite that would run close to the start of the race.  I got home but missed all the pre-race stuff and the first laps.  Just as I hunkered down for the race, it was over.  Well, at least for me it was when half the field was taken out.  Tony was very aggressive early, perhaps too aggressive.  It is what I like about Tony, but dang it Mr. Stewart…ugh!  He didn’t mean to come down and take out half the field.  It was just a racing deal.  Tony did take responsibility for the crash.

Sunday is qualifying for the Daytona 500 where the first two positions will be determined.  On the one hand Tony heads out first for qualifying, but on the other it might not bode well for him on winning the pole.  Of course if he isn’t on the front row I am ok with that.  He will still have a chance to get on row two come Thursday with the Budweiser Duels (formerly the Gatorade Duels).  For where you start isn’t as important where you end up.  This is Daytona…anything can happen.

If you haven’t noticed NASCAR.com has redesigned their site.  I have to say I am not all that thrilled about the change.  For one it seems to take a long time to load up, of course this could be caused by my internet provider.  It has been somewhat daunting to navigate around the site.  For example, I wanted to find out the results of last night’s race and well frankly I couldn’t find them.  I didn’t spend all that much time trying to find them, but it should be that difficult.  I am also a Raceview subscriber.  The site was having difficulty with the Raceview last night.  I didn’t use my Raceview last night because of the message I saw on Twitter.  NASCAR.com did offer a way for you to view it last night while they were working on fixing things.  I am sure it will be fixed come Sunday if not before.

Some final thoughts…

  • I love social media.  Yeppers…I love Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  It’s fun and entertaining. If you aren’t on Twitter get on it…open an account…follow people.  If you love NASCAR, I highly recommend The Orange Cone.  Yes, it is an inanimate object, but some of the funniest stuff comes from his feed.  If you are on Twitter, check him out @TheOrangeCone.
  • NASCAR Commercials are funny.  There are three commercials that sort of introduces the new car.  You see the cars sitting in regular car showrooms.  My favorite is the Clint Bowyer one.  AT the end when the salesman says I will get the keys, Clint utters… “She don’t take keys”.  Brad K. is using his phone to take pictures of him in front of the Ford and Jimmie utters “I love new car smell” in his commercial.  NASCAR commercials just make you giggle at times.
  • Tony had an awesome car last night.  He posted some of the best speeds yesterday in the last practice.  This bodes well for today, the duels and next weekend.  I want Tony to win the Daytona 500.  But the Daytona 500 is tough to win.  It took Dale Sr. 20 tries and some drivers have tried, but never won.  Hoping this is Tony’s year!
  • I was able to help out a fellow Tony fan.  I managed to find a copy of NASCAR Illustrated with Tony Stewart on the front.  I mentioned this to her and well, she was a little sad because as a NASCAR Illustrated subscriber she got the one with Denny Hamlin on the front.  This is where I was determined to get her a copy of one with Tony on it.  I accomplished this feat and she is now the proud owner of a NASCAR Illustrated with Tony on the cover.  That’s what it is all about my friends.  NASCAR Nation is not just a bunch of people who love NASCAR, it is a family.

Media Day 2013

It is has now begun…NASCAR 2013!  Today is the ever popular Media Day in NASCAR.  This is the first chance we get to see and hear all the drivers in one place.  I love this day!  I am sure by the end of the day the drivers are tired of hearing the same questions from all the media guys.  Some guys are better at Media Day than others.  I can’t wait to see what Mr. Tony Stewart has to say!  I wonder if any of the media guys will ask Danica about Ricky?  Who knows what we will see throughout the day?

sprint unlimited trophy 2013Sprint Unlimited (aka Bud Shootout)–This year the fans were able to vote for how the Sprint Unlimited would play out.  This included segment duration, pit stops, driver elimination and yes, even the driver line-up.  The race segment durations are as follows: 1st segment-30 lap, 2nd segment-25 laps and 3rd segment-20 laps. Voting for the pit stop options will close after the green flag drops for the first segment.  The choices will be 4 tires, 2 tires, or no stop at all after the end of the first segment.  Fans have until the green flag of the segment to vote how many drivers will be eliminated, your choices, 0, 2, 4 or 6.  The other interesting part of this is how will the race lineup be determined.  This too is fan driven.  Only the fans that are attending the race on Saturday will have the luxury of setting the starting grid.   This should be interesting!  Man sucks to be a crew chief during this race, but hey, that’s why they get paid the big bucks.  They will definitely earn some come Saturday night. Here’s a picture of the trophy the winner of the race will receive on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Mike Bagley’s Twitter feed).

I feel overwhelmed by all the ways I can get my information from Media Day–internet, Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, and NASCAR.com.  I have all my electronic equipment on to help me out, iPhone, iPad, computer and yes even my television.  I am so glad I am able to keep up with all of this today.  The last couple of years I was at work and wasn’t able to get involved as much as I am today.  I am hoping to get some fun stuff out of the whole media day coverage so I can share with you fine people out there.  Today helps me to get pumped up for the NASCAR season.  It’s like back to school day for all of us in NASCAR nation.  The disadvantage of watching Media Day in various formats, you get to see the same answers to some of the questions.  All in all I enjoyed the day.

I tried to take notes so I could share with those what they missed today.  I have to admit I was interested in seeing  Kurt Busch.  He is now at Furniture Row Racing which is based out of Denver, Colorado.  It isn’t a powerhouse team like HMS or Roush, but I think with Kurt driving for them, they might be able to get some wins under their belts this year and perhaps make the Chase.  Speaking of Kurt, if you didn’t get a chance to watch “The Kurt Busch Special” you missed an opportunity to get to know Kurt.  I have never been a Kurt fan.  He is very talented, but I have had some issues with his behavior on and off the racetrack.  But I have to admit no matter what he does the media will scrutinize him more than I think other drivers.

The big elephant in the room today was probably the whole Danicky or Stanica or DanRicky romance.  This  would be Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse for those who have been living in a cave for the past several weeks.  Questions were asked and from what I saw they both handled the questions in a professional manner.  Of course, I wasn’t too interested in what Ricky got her for Valentine’s Day and vice versa.  It is no different from my point of view when two co-workers begin to date one another.  Hopefully every time we see them on the track close to one another the broadcasters won’t keep bringing up their relationship.  But admit it, we all are curious to see if what would happen if they broke up.  What makes matters even fun is they are both going for the “Rookie of the Year” title.

I definitely had to multitask today (doing laundry and enjoying Media Day). IMG_1622 At one point in the day I had Sirius NASCAR Radio, NASCAR. com, and ESPN playing all at the same time. Man it is a good thing I am not ADHD or I would have blow some kind of gasket. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anyone I wanted to see or hear. I think I like both Sirius and NASCAR.com’s coverage.  It seemed more conversational than the ESPN coverage.  All were of course very informing and entertaining.  I got a chance to see Tony Stewart not once but twice today.  My youngest loves Tony Stewart and he too was enjoying some of media day.  Frankly he was building a race track with his Geotrax on the floor during most of it, but when Tony was on he stopped to watch.  He is DEFINITELY my son!

Here are a couple of tidbits from today.

  • Mark Martin has been in every Sprint Unlimited (formerly Shootout or whatever it has been called over the years) since 1982 with exception of last year.
  • Michael Waltrip will run the #23 (instead of #30) for Swan Racing in the Daytona 500 in honor of the 26 victims of Sandy Hook Elementary.  All I have to say is very classy.
  • It seemed as if Danica Patrick was more relaxed this year then in previous Media Days.  I remember watching her during her first Media Day.  She seems like an old pro now.  This will be her first full season in Cup this year.  There will be a definite learning curve, but hey, who hasn’t had to navigate a learning curve during their first year in Cup.
  • Talk turned did turn to the new car–Generation 6.  I am excited to see this new car.  I was not a fan of the COT.  I think the racing suffered because of it in my opinion.  I think it will improve the racing we have seen over the last few years.  But until the drivers can get some real racing in the cars, we can only predict what will happen with this new car.
  • Kevin Harvick will be in his final season with Richard Childress Racing.  He will move over to Stewart Haas Racing beginning in 2014.  It will be interesting to see how his season will be knowing he is considered a lame duck.
  • Will the iconic #3 return to the track next year in Cup?  I think enough time has elapsed since the passing of Dale Earnhardt Sr.  It will be 12 years on February 18.  I think the fans will be at peace with the decision if the #3 returns.

That’s about it from me today.  If you want more notes and news from today, check out Facebook, Twitter, or NASCAR.com.  I am sure you will find what you are looking for with regards to the season.