Tony Stewart

Before I start with my  post, please remember, what I say here are my opinions, my words.   I always invite comments to my posts, but if you are coming here to be judgmental, to troll, or to be downright nasty,  YOU ARE NOT WELCOME!  All I ask is to keep an open mind.  You don’t have to agree with me, but you can respect what I or others have to say.

I haven’t been vocal about the tragic accident that took Kevin Ward Jr.’s life.  Here  what I posted back on August 12 on Bad Groove.

“I haven’t been vocal about all of this on Facebook or elsewhere.  One I am still in shock about this past weekend’s events.  The more stories I see about it, the angrier I get.  I am angry with media outlets who have no clue about what they are talking about.  They want to vilify Tony Stewart.   All they show are the angry outbursts of this man. I don’t have blinders on when it come to Tony.  He has a history of anger management issues.  You can’t judge who he is as a person by those snippets.  We have all had times where we have blown up in the heat of the moment.  Those are just a fraction of what Tony Stewart is as a person.  He is a loving and caring person with one of the biggest hearts around.  Last year I read an article about the crash that left him with a broken leg.  He made a last-minute decision to turn his car to avoid hitting another competitor.  A move that cost Tony a broken leg, but saved that man’s life.  That’s why when I hear people say he turned intentionally to hit Mr. Ward, I just get angrier and angrier.

People have asked the question should Tony Stewart be racing at these dirt tracks? My answer is yes (please note, my initial post said no, I hit submit, before I could edit it).  Tony is a racer.  Dirt racing is his passion.  It’s his baby.  How can you ask someone to give up something they love, something that is part of who he is.  I am sure Tony is asking himself these very same questions.

I can’t even begin to understand what Tony is going through at this point in time.  Yes, he was behind the wheel of his race car when he struck a fellow driver which resulted in the death of Kevin Ward Jr.  That will always be with Tony.  He will always wonder if I had this or that, would it have made a difference.  I don’t know and we will probably never know.  This incident has not only changed Tony in a profound way, but the whole racing community 

All I ask from people who know me, as well as you (Amy from Bad Groove), take the time to ask questions.  Ask me about Tony Stewart the person.  Ask me about what happened.  Ask me about my loyalty to Tony Stewart.  I will try to help you understand so you can feel compassion for a man who is devastated and heartbroken.  This is not a time to judge.  Even thought I do not know Tony Stewart personally, my heart aches for him.  One last thing, Dale Jarrett is a class act.  We should all take a page from his book.”

That was pretty much the only time I have commented about the tragic incident involving Tony Stewart until today.

I just finished watching the press conference during my lunch hour.  This would be the first time since the accident we would see Tony Stewart.  Before he even said a word, I could tell he was still shaken up about the events from that night.  You don’t have to be a race fan to know this accident has greatly affected him and will for a long time.  I don’t know where he found the strength to sit in front of the media and speak from the heart.  I am sure there will be those who will criticize him for not answering questions about, but I didn’t want him to.  The investigation is still open and as he said, he is respecting the process of everything.  If that sticks in your craw then so be it.  His remarks were genuine.  They didn’t seem forced, contrite, or arrogant.  I believe he is truly sorry for what happened.

Some of you may ask how can I be objective, you ARE, after all, a Tony Stewart fan.  I have tried to remain objective–trying to understand and respect everyone’s viewpoints.  However, it has been difficult. Part of it has to do with those who don’t even understand the sport of NASCAR.  Frankly most people don’t care and won’t take the time to learn.  Ask someone who doesn’t follow the sport what NASCAR is all about.  You get the usual, “all they do is go in circles” or “all they do is make left turns”.  NASCAR is just full of ignorant rednecks.  Of course my personal favorite is, “you just love to watch because of the wrecks”.   That’s fine–it’s their opinion.  I have been known on occasion to rant about my love for NASCAR here in The Park.   I am a NASCAR fan and a Tony Stewart fan! I will never apologize for it. I have been following Tony in NASCAR since about 2006.  I chose Tony Stewart.  He is the driver I cheer for each week during NASCAR season. I have shelled sums of my own money to buy souvenirs and autographed items. And some special people out there have shelled out money as well to buy me Tony Stewart gifts.   I will continue to support Tony Stewart.  I will continue to watch him race every year in NASCAR until he, dare I say it, retires.

I believe it is time for Tony to return to racing.  He needs it to continue the healing process.  Grief has no time-table.  It has not set pattern.  We all grieve differently.   I still grieve for both my parents who I lost in 2011.  The pain of that loss will never leave me, but I have learned to cope in order to live my life.  I believe that is what Tony is trying to do this weekend.

I leave you with words from Tony Stewart (spoken today at his press conference)…”This is a sadness and a pain that I hope no one has to experience in their life.”

2014 Season

I can believe the start of the 2014 season is upon us.  There are so many story lines that have come out of the off-season.  It has been one of the busiest off-seasons I have seen in a few years.   Here are some story lines coming into the 2014 season.

The Chase–new changes are here! 16 drivers, a win gets you in the Chase if you are in the top 30 in points, eliminator rounds in the last 10 races and a 4 car shoot out at Miami.  Not sure what to think about the changes, I will just have to wait and see

Qualifying–You will have three rounds at 1.25 miles or longer and 2 rounds at tracks less 1.25 miles.  Round 1 = 25 minutes to post qualifying time-after which the 24 registering the fastest will advance to 2nd round. Those not advancing to Round 2 will be sorted based on 1st round times in descending order. Round 2 = 10 minutes to qualify, 12 fastest in this round will move onto the final round, those not advancing will earn positions 13-24 based on time.  Final round = 5 minutes, fastest times from this session will determine 1-12 positions.  There will be a 5-minute break between each round where teams can make adjustments.  They will not be allowed to jack the vehicle or raise the hood and once the car enters the garage, it will no longer be permitted to return to the track for additional qualifying attempts. Of course is you are at tracks 1.25 or less, drivers will only have two rounds to get things done.  Did you get all that?

Jimmie Johnson–Will he or won’t he get to that magic mountain of 7 championships this season?  I haven’t heard much chatter about it, but it is still early in the season.  But I am sure somewhere down the line, it will be mentioned.

Stewart Haas Racing–I think this is the team that you need to watch our for in 2014 (of course I am a little biased).  SHR went from a three-car team to a four car team.  SHR added new drivers Kevin Harvick (who replaced the departing Ryan Newman who is now in over at Richard Childress Racing) and Kurt Busch driving the #41.  Danica Patrick will be starting her 2nd year in Cup.  But all eyes I think will be on Smoke, aka, Tony Stewart.  More about my thoughts on Tony later.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.:  I am interested to see how Dale Jr. will fare this year.  It was announced that his crew chief, Steve Letarte, will be leaving at the end of the season to join NBC when they take over the final part of the NASCAR season next year.  I am sure the good folks over at Hendrick Motor Sports have started looking at who will replace Letarte.  Letarte has done good things for Junior since becoming his crew chief.  I don’t cringe every time Dale is interviewed.  He looks more relaxed and upbeat.  Steve Letarte will be missed, but I am looking forward to him in the broadcast booth next year.

The #3–It is time.  It has been 13  years since the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr.  Richard Childress has been very respectful about bringing back this iconic and revered number iconic back to the Cup level.  Dale Sr.’s legacy to me is more than just the number.  That’s what I focus on when I look back at his career.  Is Richard Petty’s legacy diminished because someone else drives the #43?  I know there are some small faction who would like to not see the #3 back on the track and that is ok.  But I am excited to see it back on the track and I think Mr. Dillon will do the #3 proud.  Note to those crazy loons who wear the aluminum hats–there is no conspiracy with the #3.  Are you kidding me?  You know how many people you would have to involve to pull off that kind of thing?  You guys need to stop drinking that “special Kool-aid”.  If you really want to scream NASCAR is on the take and fixed, how come Junior hasn’t won a championship or for that matter multiple championships?  RCR has always had fast cars at the restrictor plate tracks.  So take your aluminum hats and black helicopters and go back to figuring out something more important, like why do hot dog packages come in packs of 10 and buns in packs of 8!

Sprint Unlimited–I liked the racing even after the 9 car crash that took out some of the major players in the race.  There was side by side racing.  Denny clearly had the car to beat it seemed.  He won all three segments and stood in victory lane for the first time in the Unlimited since he won the thing back in his rookie year.  Of course, the weirdest part of the night was when the pace car caught fire!  You heard me, the pace car caught fire!  I mean two years it was a jet dryer up in flames!  At one point, I was waiting for the mayhem guy from the All State commercials to pop out!

Thank goodness this race occurred AFTER Valentine’s Day.  It looked like Danica Patrick was going to make it thorough the big crash, but only to be hit by her boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  It never saw her.  I would have loved to been a fly on the wall in that trailer home to hear the conversation.

I’m telling ya, it had to be the full moon that was hovering over the race track.  That would explain so much!

Tony Stewart–It has been a long off-season for us Tony fans.  I mean, we haven’t seen our driver in a car since August.  I for one am pumped to see Tony back in his #14!  He seems very upbeat about getting the 2014 season underway.  That was clearly evident on Saturday night.  He looked great out there.  It was if he had never been gone.  But my excitement was short-lived thanks to that 9-car pile up courtesy of Matt Kenseth. Saw this quote on Twitter from Tony, “I’ve waited for 7 months to race, I damn sure wasn’t going to sit there and ride around.”.  Now that’s the Tony I love!  I am hoping 2014 is the year of #14.  I want to see him win the Daytona 500 this year.  Of course if he does all those crazy conspiracy loons will come out of the lead line caves screaming CONSPIRACY!  But you know what, let them cry all they want.  Just like Dale Sr., he has won everything he can at Daytona.  He knows how to get around the place.  But that just goes to show you how tough winning the Daytona 500 can be.  Some of NASCAR’s best drivers, have never one a the 500.

Hope that has caught you up to speed for Daytona.  Now here are a few house keeping things I need to take care of.  If you are in Raiderland or listening outside the boundaries of Raiderland, check at That Dang Ol’ Show.  You can listen to the show on Monday nights from 6:00-8:00 pm on The Red Dirt Rebel (105.3).  If the wind is blowing just right and the sun is setting in the west, you might just hear me call in and talk a little racing.  Plus, you might learn a thing or two in the process.

And finally….since there are only 5 days until Daytona (February 23, 2014)…I need to put the disclaimer out there for everyone.

Attention to all of my family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers, NASCAR season is upon us.  I will NOT be available for family functions, outings, or get-togethers on Sundays.  If there is an event on said Sunday, you will have to understand they must be held prior to the start of the race or after the race.  If you must schedule things during the raced be aware I may not attend your function or request that I have access to a television set.  This also applies to races that are held occasionally on Saturday nights.  If you wish to spend time with me, you must understand the topic of conversation will be predominately about the upcoming race, the previous Sunday’s race, Tony Stewart, or anything in general about NASCAR.  This is the time of the year all projects are put aside unless they involve a NASCAR related event.  Please don’t be offended if I ignore you on Sunday or the occasional Saturday…it’s nothing personal…IT’S NASCAR!

SMOKE YUMMO.CHARLOTTE COKE 600.2010

The Week That Was

This was written last night, but due to technical difficulties with my internet, I was not able to post until today.

I have been trying all week to write something about all that happened last Saturday night at Richmond. I have gone back and forth on several of the issues that have arisen over the past few days. I am still not sure if this is really happening or we are all part of an elaborate “catfish” scheme. Either way, as a NASCAR fan, the events of this past week have made me think about the sport I love.

On Saturday night at Richmond, the field of 12 was set. Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon who had been on the outside looking in. Newman was leading the race with Clint Bowyer spun out very late in the race. Because of this spin, Carl Edwards took the lead and well, Newman along with Gordon was out and Martin Truex Jr. was in. As well all know, accusations flew that Clint Bowyer spun intentionally in order to help his teammate get into the Chase. Also afoot were Clint and Brian Vickers pitted late which allowed Lagano to get a few more spots and get a spot in the Chase. Monday NASCAR announced penalties for MWR. Truex was out and Newman was permitted his rightful spot into the Chase. Also Clint, Brian, and Martin were docked 50 driver points. These deductions were applied after the Richmond race, not before the reset. This is the reason Truex was no longer in the Chase and Newman was in. I thought NASCAR got part of this right. I had issues with allowing Clint Bowyer to remain in the Chase. He was the one who intentionally spun out and started this brouhaha. I know he had already earned his spot in the Chase prior to Richmond. I get that. But NASCAR essentially was saying, we know something happened, but without clear and definite evidence we don’t want to go down this road. If you wanted to penalize Clint, moved him to the 12th spot in the Chase and move everyone behind him up one spot. Make him start at the bottom. Jeff Gordon, in my, opinion on Monday, should have been allowed to be a driver in the Chase. Prior to all the shenanigans (this was the word of the week), he had earned his spot. To put it bluntly, he got screwed! I know he didn’t win a race and yes he was on the outside looking in, but he busted his tail on Saturday to get where he needed to get into the Chase. But due to others who wanted to manipulate the outcome, he was out!

Just when I thought all of this was over and we could get to talking about the start of the Chase, news came out there was shenanigans afoot between Joey Lagano and David Gilliland’s teams. I thought here we go again. Unfortunately, they didn’t get a chance to do it. It was at this point the infamous spun occurred on the track. In an unprecedented move by NASCAR, it was announced today Jeff Gordon would be the 13th driver in the Chase. That’s right. I am glad NASCAR made this decision, a few days too late, but nonetheless the right decision.

I love this sport. I love watching these amazing drivers do things on a race track that keep me coming back week after week, year after year. But as a long time fan, I am disappointed and angry. Members of three organizations chose, that’s chose, to cheat. They chose to manipulate the outcome of the race as well as the championship. I can’t even begin to understand the type of pressure drivers and race teams are under trying to get into the Chase each and every year. There are millions of dollars at stake for everyone involved from drivers to owners to sponsors and even to the upper echelon of NASCAR. But when the integrity of the sport is placed in jeopardy, those at NASCAR need to make a stand. There is a meeting scheduled at the track tomorrow where NASCAR will what I assume is a come to Jesus meeting for the drivers and teams. Mr. France needs to put it in clear concise words, this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. And if this kind of behavior happens again, you are out of this sport. That’s what I believe should happen to those who try this again. I felt cheated and betrayed as a fan. I am now looking at the sport I love differently. I know drivers allow teammates or other drivers to pass them to lead a lap or give them a spot ahead of them to get a point. I get that. Drivers who are laps down allow the leaders to pass them because they are faster. But this was different, there blatant manipulation happening on the track. That to me is unacceptable. Now when a driver spins by him or herself, am I going to wonder is it a legitimate spin or is it intentionally?

I am hoping after everything is decided at Homestead in November, NASCAR takes a good hard look at what happened in Richmond. Does the pressure of the Chase cultivate this type of manipulation? Should the Chase be tweaked again in order to prevent this type of cheating from happening again? When

I have been trying all week to write something about all that happened last Saturday night at Richmond. I have gone back and forth on several of the issues that have arisen over the past few days. I am still not sure if this is really happening or we are all part of an elaborate “catfish” scheme. Either way, as a NASCAR fan, the events of this past week have made me think about the sport I love.

On Saturday night at Richmond, the field of 12 was set. Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon who had been on the outside looking in. Newman was leading the race with Clint Bowyer spun out very late in the race. Because of this spin, Carl Edwards took the lead and well, Newman along with Gordon was out and Martin Truex Jr. was in. As well all know, accusations flew that Clint Bowyer spun intentionally in order to help his teammate get into the Chase. Also afoot were Clint and Brian Vickers pitted late which allowed Lagano to get a few more spots and get a spot in the Chase. Monday NASCAR announced penalties for MWR. Truex was out and Newman was permitted his rightful spot into the Chase. Also Clint, Brian, and Martin were docked 50 driver points. These deductions were applied after the Richmond race, not before the reset. This is the reason Truex was no longer in the Chase and Newman was in. I thought NASCAR got part of this right. I had issues with allowing Clint Bowyer to remain in the Chase. He was the one who intentionally spun out and started this brouhaha. I know he had already earned his spot in the Chase prior to Richmond. I get that. But NASCAR essentially was saying, we know something happened, but without clear and definite evidence we don’t want to go down this road. If you wanted to penalize Clint, moved him to the 12th spot in the Chase and move everyone behind him up one spot. Make him start at the bottom. Jeff Gordon, in my, opinion on Monday, should have been allowed to be a driver in the Chase. Prior to all the shenanigans (this was the word of the week), he had earned his spot. To put it bluntly, he got screwed! I know he didn’t win a race and yes he was on the outside looking in, but he busted his tail on Saturday to get where he needed to get into the Chase. But due to others who wanted to manipulate the outcome, he was out!

Just when I thought all of this was over and we could get to talking about the start of the Chase, news came out there was shenanigans afoot between Joey Lagano and David Gilliland’s teams. I thought here we go again. Unfortunately, they didn’t get a chance to do it. It was at this point the infamous spun occurred on the track. In an unprecedented move by NASCAR, it was announced today Jeff Gordon would be the 13th driver in the Chase. That’s right. I am glad NASCAR made this decision, a few days too late, but nonetheless the right decision.

I love this sport. I love watching these amazing drivers do things on a race track that keep me coming back week after week, year after year. But as a long time fan, I am disappointed and angry. Members of three organizations chose, that’s chose, to cheat. They chose to manipulate the outcome of the race as well as the championship. I can’t even begin to understand the type of pressure drivers and race teams are under trying to get into the Chase each and every year. There are millions of dollars at stake for everyone involved from drivers to owners to sponsors and even to the upper echelon of NASCAR. But when the integrity of the sport is placed in jeopardy, those at NASCAR need to make a stand. There is a meeting scheduled at the track tomorrow where NASCAR will what I assume is a come to Jesus meeting for the drivers and teams. Mr. France needs to put it in clear concise words, this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. And if this kind of behavior happens again, you are out of this sport. That’s what I believe should happen to those who try this again. I felt cheated and betrayed as a fan. I am now looking at the sport I love differently. I know drivers allow teammates or other drivers to pass them to lead a lap or give them a spot ahead of them to get a point. I get that. Drivers who are laps down allow the leaders to pass them because they are faster. But this was different, there blatant manipulation happening on the track. That to me is unacceptable. Now when a driver spins by him or herself, am I going to wonder is it a legitimate spin or is it intentionally?

I am hoping after everything is decided at Homestead in November, NASCAR takes a good hard look at what happened NASCAR announced the two wild card positions I wasn’t too thrilled. I liked the fact there were just 10 drivers in the Chase. Maybe that’s what NASCAR should do. If you are in the Top 10 you are in and no wild cards! That’s it. Keep the bonus points for the wins. Yes, the battle for the wild card keeps me interested late in the year, but did it cause unintended consequences? Should they go back to the old system? The one, they still use in the Truck and Nationwide series’. Since they changed the point system, the points standings are competitive and close. It is fun to watch every week to see who is leading and who is battling their way to get to the top. I know NASCAR wants to keep fans interested once football season starts. But is it worth it, if it puts NASCAR’s integrity in jeopardy?

I want to believe those who run the sport will take a serious look at what a few individuals have done to the integrity of the sport. I am still going to watch every week. I can’t just abandon a great sport just because of a few individuals. NASCAR is an exciting sport and these drivers are some of the best athletes out there. But if NASCAR doesn’t reign in this kind of behavior, I don’t know if I can continue to watch.

Some final thoughts…

  • I am excited about the fact that Kurt Busch has made  the Chase. Furniture Row Racing is a one car team based in Denver, Colorado. It has to be difficult not to be in the heart of NASCAR country in North Carolina. FRR has proven they can be successful. Kurt Busch has worked all season long to get into the Chase and I for one am looking forward to watching him in the next 10 races. I know FRR is disappointed Kurt will be leaving at the end of the year to head for Stewart Haas Racing.  Considering where Kurt was two years ago, this is definitely a one of the      best comeback stories this year.
  • I feel bad for Martin Truex Jr. I know it’s not fair.  His team wanted to get him into the race, but in the end it has to end with the driver. Martin did what he could for the first 26 races to put      himself in a place to get into the Chase. But in the end, he is out. Plain and simple.
  • I have lost respect for Michael Waltrip. I just  finished watching the Truck race. I can’t listen to him. He has lost credibility in my eyes. How can I respect his analysis of the sport, when I know what happened? As I am in the middle of typing this post, Fox Sports Live on FS1 comes on. The lead story, NASCAR. They go to the Truck race broadcast crew which includes no other than Michael Waltrip. Really? I know they are all trying to be professional, but for me I just don’t see how I can believe anything he says. I found myself yelling at the television. That’s how angry I am at all of this. Sorry, it’s the way I feel.
  • Update–NASCAR had a meeting with drivers, owners, and crew chiefs today.  Here’s what came out of the meeting.  Drivers/teams should give 100% in the race.  Only one spotter for each team will be allowed up on the spotter’s stand.  No more digital radios.  Spotters can use two analog radios, scanners, & Fan Views.  A video camera will installed on the spotters’ stand. NASCAR will be monitoring the spotter’s stand.  If competitors who try to “artificially alter” the race will be penalized which can include, but not limited to “disqualifcationa dn/or loss of finishing points and/or fines and/or loss of points and /or suspension and/or probration to any an all members of the teams, incluing any beneficiaries of the prohibited actions.

The Chase…in case of those you didn’t know the Chase begins Sunday in Chicago. I am not sure who I will be rooting for this year. My driver is currently sidelined. I am not worried though, he will be back in 2014. Just remember #SmokeWillRise. You have to look at Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Busch. Between these three drivers you have 8 wins. Even though these guys have this many wins between them, you can’t count any of the other drivers. One just has to look at 2011. No one really thought Tony had a chance. He went on a tear that year, won 5 races and took the championship! I hope once the green flag falls on Sunday, we can put all this controversy behind us and concentrate on the racing. Good luck to all the racers, even though I hope some have a not so good Chase.

SHR and That Dang Ol’ Racing Show

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about the new addition to Stewart Haas Racing.  I have read several articles about Kurt Busch coming to SHR as well as other media sites about the story.  I just don’t know if there is a need to write another story about it.  I have not been quiet about my dislike for Kurt Busch over the years.  He is a hot-headed and quite frankly he can be a complete a-hole.  He has tangled with Tony Stewart along with other drivers on his new team.  He is a polarizing figure in the sport.  Every time he is announced at driver introductions, he gets more boos than cheers. So why would you want someone like this on your racing team?

The man can drive a car and he knows how to win.  Why wouldn’t you want the man on your race team?  Was he the driver I would have loved to seen go to SHR?  One word-NO (and I believe Tony wasn’t on board right way).  Think about the make up of the 2014 Stewart Haas Racing Team (prior to the addition of Kurt)–Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, and Danica Patrick.  These drivers have been known to say what they think and make no apologies about it.  They can be a little hot-headed at times.  One just has to look at the last Saturday’s race at Bristol.  Kevin thought he was wronged by Denny Hamlin.  He went over to his car while on pit road to discuss the matter further with Denny.  Or who could forget last year at Bristol, Tony throwing his helmet at Matt Kenseth’s car.  If you need any further evidence, just check out You Tube.  Now throw in Kurt Busch…wow!  Some of the commenters out there believe Kurt Busch has anger management issues.  Who doesn’t on some kind of level?  Some are better than others at controlling their anger.  Tony is no stranger to anger management issues.  I think he has “mellowed” a little over the last several years.  I contribute this to getting older and being a team owner.  But don’t make this mistake in saying this mellowing means his passion for the sport has changed.  It hasn’t.  I think Kurt has proven he can still be upset about things, but he has done some mellowing himself this year.  Despite his past shenanigans, I still believe this is a good move for SHR.   With Kurt Busch you get a driver who has 24 wins, 95 top fives and 185 top 10s not to mention he won a championship in 2004.  He was the first driver to win a championship under the Chase format.  He is currently sitting 12th in the standings on the bubble of making the Chase this year with a one-car team.  And I have to admit I like that fact he isn’t afraid to race his brother, Kyle.  I mean look what happened in the 2007 All-Star race.  Of course I for one would take out my own grandmother for a million dollars.  I believe the brothers didn’t talk to one another until their grandmother stepped in.

I am ok with Kurt Busch becoming part of SHR.  With that being said, I am did not like how it all came about.  I know Gene Haas was the one who wanted Kurt in the SHR stable.  That’s fine and dandy.  NASCAR is a business and it is all about making the most of your investment.  Tony Stewart understands all of this.  Gene Haas is a co-owner of SHR along with Tony.  I get all that.  But in the end, Tony Stewart elevated his racing team.  He won a championship within 3 years of creating SHR.  It was just weeks ago, Ryan Newman was let go because there was not going to be enough for a fourth team.  You have to wonder if Mr. Haas wanted to keep Newman around on SHR.  During his time at SHR (this also includes his time this year through 24 races) Newman has 4 wins, 28 top 5s, 70 top 10s.  He has won 7 poles and qualified for the Chase only twice since joining SHR in 2009.  Compared to Kurt Busch over this time with Roush/Penske/Phoenix and Furniture Row, Kurt has 6 wins, 34 top 5s, 70 top 10s, 6 poles, and qualified 6 times for the Chase.  It can be compared they both look similar on paper.  But I guess Mr. Haas wanted Kurt Busch on the team.  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Mr. Haas and Mr. Stewart discussed this matter.  I bet it was an interesting conversation and I am sure it didn’t sit well with Tony.  I just think the timing of it all is rather hinky.  Was there another team entertaining Kurt an offer besides Furniture Row and Mr. Haas wanted to pinned down Kurt while the iron was hot?  No matter what any of us think Kurt Busch is now a member of Stewart Haas Racing.

How happy will I be to watch all four members of SHR next year?  Happier than a camel on Wednesday!  (sorry, for the shameless use of a Geico commercial)

Some final thoughts…

If you missed last night’s That Dang Ol’ Racing show, you must have had something more important to do last night.  I was able to win free pizza from Domino’s by winning last week’s Dang Ol’ Racing Challenge.  Thanks to Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, and Jimmie Johnson for racking up some serious points for me.  Does this mean I have to share my pizza with them?  I hope not, because I am not good at sharing.  This week the boys are headed to Atlanta and I have chosen Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, and Matt Kenseth.  Let’s hope these boys get it done, so I can be a two-time winner!  As I mentioned in previous posts here in The Park, I was excited to hear about this new show.  For years now I have been posting about NASCAR and looking for those of you out there who are willing to banter with me about the sport.  I have those who tolerate this obsession of mine.  I have tried to explain things to hem and even invited them to watch a race or two with me, but to no avail.  Now I have a place I am able to share my thoughts on NASCAR.  For my friends and family, you should send on Mr. Ryan Hyatt a thank you.  I don’t have to bother you as much or subject you to this thing I love called NASCAR.   Well, if you want to catch That Dang Ol’ Racing Show, just tune into 98.5 Real Country every Tuesday from 6-7. You can also find the show on Facebook (That Dang Ol Racing Show,) or on Twitter (@dangolracing).  You can find that show blog on my blogroll, just go over to the right side under Infield and click and boom…there you are!  So join the show next week,  you can have a chance to win free pizza from Dominos and who doesn’t like free pizza!  Please note I am not a paid spokesperson or am I compensated in any way shape or form.  I just like the show and want others to join in on the fun!

Stewart Haas Racing and Michigan

I was going to write about Sunday’s race in the first part of the post, but with everything going on with SHR I thought I would lead with it this week.  On sunday night while pursuing Twitter looking for more information about the race, I saw it.  I saw there was a possibility that Kurt Busch might become a 4th team member of SHR.  Yesterday it was somewhat quite on Twitter and Facebook with this story.  All that I have seen is Kurt Busch has an offer on the table.  I am not sure how I feel about this possibility.  Kurt Bush has been having a good year running for Furniture Row Racing.  He had another good finish on Sunday with a 3rd place finish.  Kurt is currently sitting in 9th place in the standings.  There are only three races left until the Chase begins (Bristol, Atlanta, and Richmond).  I think he will make the Chase unless he completely implodes in the next three races.  Kurt only is on a one year contract with FRR and it will expire at the end of the 2013 season.  But Kurt Busch at SHR I just don’t know.  Can you imagine Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick AND Kurt Busch.  These four drivers are never at a loss for words when it comes to dealing with the media.  Kurt Busch, just like Danica, is polarizing.  Everything I have read, people really hate this move or really like this move, there is no middle ground.  I for one have never been a Kurt Busch fan.  Of course I am not a Ryan Newman fan either.  There have been those who wonder if you can find room, money, and sponsorship for Kurt Busch to be with SHR in 2014, why couldn’t you find the same for Ryan Newman?  I am by no means an expect on this matter.  I only see what is reported regarding this matter.  Maybe Tony wanted to go in a different direction with his team.  I mean he is investing his money into the team along with Gene Haas. To quote the Godfather, it’s not personal, it’s business.  There is more to Stewart Haas Racing than just the drivers, he has crew members and other staff members that depend on the success of SHR.  I am positive the decision to let Ryan go wasn’t easy, but in life you have to make tough decisions.  On paper, both Ryan and Kurt have roughly the same numbers.  They both started racing in Cup in 2000, with Kurt going full-time in 2001 and Newman full-time in 2002.  Kurt does have a championship under his belt back in 2004.  Note he was the first driver to win a championship under the Chase format.  Of course, there is more deciding which driver drives for which particular team every year.  Sometimes it is about what is best for the team, or what the driver whats, or lately, sponsorship.  I guess we will all have to wait to see how this all shakes down for SHR.

In other news coming out of SHR, it was announced yesterday that Tony Stewart will be out the rest of the season and Mark Martin will take over driving duties for the rest of the season.  Mark will begin his driving duties in the #14 starting with Bristol on Saturday night.  The only race that Mark will not race is Talladega where Austin Dillion will once again to the helm of the #14.  This gives Brian Vickers the opportunity to get into the #55 earlier than expected.  I think this is a good move for Tony.  The team will have consistency with one driver the rest of the season.  Even this late in Mark’s career he is competitive.  I think he would have won the race on Sunday if he hadn’t of run out of gas.  Both drivers have a deep respect for each other.  Several years ago Mark Martin said Tony Stewart was one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR.  I am happy with this choice.  Besides this will sort of force my hubby to cheer for the #14 each week.    I know Mark will give it his best when he gets behind the wheel of the #14.  I am thankful SHR is going with one driver (other than Talladega) for the rest of the season instead of the “insert driver here” every week.  If someone out there is questioning this decision all you have to see is what Tony Stewart said about mark Martin… “Mark is someone I’ve looked up to my entire career and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”  That right there says it all for those naysayers out there.

I was going to write about the race in another post, but with That Dang Ol’ Racing Show broadcast looming tonight, I wanted to get things posted before then.  This would be week two without Tony in the #14.  Austin Dillion was tagged to drive for the #14 team for the race.  He qualified 27th and finished 14th.  Thank you Mr. Dillion for your support.  See ya at Talladega.  Now on to the race.  Joey Lagano was on fire during the weekend.  He set a track record and grabbed the pole for the Pure Michigan 400.  I was watching practice (which I rarely do) and in an interview with Brad K. he thought his teammate was going to be the man to beat over the weekend.  I was wondering if the race was going to be a long race by the way it started out.  There were 3 quick cautions which started with Clint Bowyer’s spin on lap 1.  The next two, I was wondering if I jinxed.  Every time I would go into my kitchen, caution.  Let’s just say I was banned from the kitchen until commercial.  Despite the early cautions, the race started to settle down.  If you were watching the race, you know that Jimmie Johnson crashed in the last practice session and had to use a back up car that was slated to be used for Chicago (the first race in the Chase).  And as you know, since you were watching the race, ESPN was keeping track of Jimmie’s progress towards the front.  Yes, ESPN I got it.  Jimmie was starting in the back and he was going to make his way to the front.  But you don’t have to make it your goal to let us know every chance you got.  For those who don’t know, Jimmie made his way to the front in 45 laps and was able to lead a lap prior to the start of the first green flag pit stops.  Jimmie’s day however was short-lived.  He was out of the race around lap 58 with a blown engine.  For you Jimmie fans out there, this didn’t affect his Chase chances on any level since he is leading the points right now and has already punched his ticket for the Chase.

Turn 2 was not kind to several drivers throughout the day.  Several drivers ended up spinning out or hitting the wall.  Turn 2 got Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse, and the ever popular Kyle Busch.  Dale Earnhardt had a decent day, leading laps and looked like he was to give himself a chance to win the race.  Dale’s day went south around lap 135 when he hit the wall and sustained heavy damage.  This was the 2nd car from HMS that had a bad day.  Dale finished 36th and lost one spot in the standings.  He is now sitting in 7th spot.   So have  no fear Junior nation, your driver is still ok.  My husband was trying to convince me to pick the #88 for my race pick contest.  He seems to do pretty good at Michigan, but my gut said no.  He is just like picking Ohio State in the NCAA basketball tournament.  Looks good on paper, seems like a sure thing, but in the end all you get is heartache.  And Sunday was just an example of that.

Joey Lagano was the man of the weekend.  He was poised to take the win after Mark Martin ran out of gas with three laps to go.  Mark Martin had nothing to lose with his gamble.  He wasn’t fighting for a spot in the Chase or trying to keep his spot in the Chase.  So why not gamble on fuel mileage, unfortunately the gamble didn’t pay off for Mark.  Mark finished 27th.   When Mark ran out of gas, there was Joey passing him for the lead.  This would mark Joey’s first win since moving over to Penske this season.  This win snapped a 44 race winless streak for Joey.  More importantly for Joey, this put him back in the race for a wild card spot.  He moved up 3 spots to 13th in the standings just 7 points behind Martin Truex who has the last wild card spot.  This wild card race is getting pretty interesting especially now that Tony Stewart is out for the season.  Once again, I think this will all come down to Richmond to see who grabs the two wild card spots.  If Kasey stays out of the top 10, he will have a secure spot since he has two wins.  Of course this could all change, if one of those sitting around him in standings with one win gets a win in the next three races.  man I am going to love the next three weeks!

Few thoughts…

  • I am beginning to find myself cheering for Clint Bowyer each week.  The more and more I watch him in interviews and watch on the race track, he is the type of driver I could get behind.  I would love to hang out with Clint maybe go fishing and have a few beers with.  And if you can hang with the Duck Dynasty crew and get what Duck Dynasty is all about, then you are good people in my book!
  • For those living under a rock, Speed TV is no longer on the air.  It is now Fox Sports 1.  I am going to give Fox Sports 1 a chance.  When ESPN started back in the day, I am sure they weren’t lighting it up on a daily basis.  They have had a few years to fine tune their programming.  Race Day has been pared down to one hour.  I may be in the minority on this, but I am glad it is now down to one hour.  In years past, Race Day would air right up until race broadcast time.  For example, if the race broadcast pre race show began at noon, Race Day would end at noon.  I would then switch over to the race and watch that pre-race show.  Sunday, Race Day ended an hour prior to ESPN’s pre-race show.   Some were upset by this change, but for me I just rolled with the flow.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya is out of the #42 at the end of the season.   Silly season is in full swing folks!  Let the rumors and half-truths begin!  Launch the black helicopters and drones!  Kyle Larson’s name has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Juan in the #42.  This would be a WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, move!!! Kyle is in his rookie season in the Nationwide Series.  Prior to this weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio, he has only 21 starts under his belt in Nationwide and was sitting in 8th spot.  He does have 2 starts in Trucks with one win and a 2nd place finish at Eldora.  I think Kyle needs to get more experience in NASCAR before being thrown into the shark tank.  AJ Allmendinger’s name has been kicked around for a possible replacement as well as Ryan Newman.  Either one would be a better choice than Kyle Larson into the seat.
  • Speaking of JPM, saw an interesting story on ESPN.com.  Michael Andretti would love for JPM to come race for his race team.  But as with NASCAR, it is all about sponsorship.  If Andretti can find sponsorship, could Juan be headed back to Indy Racing?  It would be interesting to see how that all shakes out.
  • Brad K. was going to gamble for the win on Sunday, but wasn’t going to be really close on fuel.  Points racing is not what drivers like to do, they want to race for the win, but sometimes IT IS about the big picture.  Brad and his team decided he needed to come down to get gas and finish the race without the win.  By the way, Brad finished 12th.  I am sure it wasn’t what he wanted, but it kept him in Chase contention.  If he would have run out of gas, he would have definitely finished further on back.
  • If you haven’t seen the show Duck Dynasty, what are you waiting for?  This is one of better shows on television at the present time.  Yes, it is a reality show, but not like all those other ones out there.  The Robertson family is funny!  Yes, they are rednecks and at times I wonder about Uncle Si, but in the end they are all about family and God.   They sit down to dinner with each other and you see them pray.  There’s nothing preachy about it at all.  It is one of the few shows I can watch with everyone in my family.  I don’t have to worry about language or other things my two children will pick up.  It’s tough finding shows that I can sit down and watch with my kids.  Gone are the days of Dukes of Hazzard, Full House, Little House on the Prairie.  Now we have shows like Dance Moms, Honey Boo-Boo, and the Real Housewives.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are those of you out there who watch these shows, but there aren’t the kind of shows I can sit down and watch with my kids.   So if you haven’t watched Duck Dynasty, stop on over at A&E and watch!
  • Non-NASCAR related–my youngest son loves to watch the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Disney Channel.  It is a pretty decent show for the younger crowd.  Kids can learn things from watching the show.   It’s not on the same level as Phineas and Ferb, but it is still a decent show for kiddos.  However, if I hear the phrase “oh tooldles” or see the “hot dog dance” one more time, I think you will have to lock myself up for the rest of the summer!  Of course both boys will start school come Monday, August 26.  My oldest will be in the 4th grade while my youngest will be starting Pre-K!  To all parents out there, not much longer…6 days!

Don’t forget about tonight’s broadcast of That Dang Ol’ Racing Show on Real Country 98.5 FM here in Lubbock, Texas from 6-7.  I was all prepared for last week’s show.  I had to make a run to Barnes and Noble with my other half so he could get his fantasy football magazines.  I had cell phone in hand and yes, that was me in B&N with ear buds on.  To be clear, it was just one ear bud and not both.  But due to technical difficulties and things beyond my control, the show was postponed to Wednesday.  Wednesday’s show was scratched as well.  And so here we are this week.  The delay for the 2nd broadcast  hasn’t deterred me in the least.  I will be tuning in tonight to listen to the discussion and maybe I might just call in!

Since the news came there would be a local racing show, it has jump started me back into my blog.  It does help that I am a stay-at-home mom.  I can keep better track of things and maybe provide a little more in-depth analysis here in The Park.  I have been providing my take on NASCAR for several years now.  It has allowed me to meet fellow NASCAR fans across the US.  Even though I don’t know them on a personal level, I feel connected to them because we are part of the NASCAR Nation.  I have always maintained The Park as a place for discussion and debate.  I welcome it.  The words I type here are my opinions and my viewpoints.  They may not always agree with the majority of those of you out there, but that’s what makes things fun!  If we all agreed, it would be boring.  I know what I am talking about.  I research things using NASCAR.com, ESPN, Fox Sports and yes, Twitter and Facebook.  I even read other’s blogs who provide other insight.  I try to be entertaining for those who stop by to read my posts.  I am not too concerned whether or not my readers comment (even though secretly I wish someone would), I am just hoping I can get more readers and maybe, just maybe someone might notice my work.  For those who stop by thanks for your support and for those first timers, WELCOME!  Have a great day!

Watkins Glen

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

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

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

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

There has een a little news reported today.

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

A few observations…

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

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

Musings from a Tony Stewart Fan

The first thing I didn’t want to hear on Tuesday morning was the news about Tony Stewart. First of all I am not a morning person and to get that kind of news early in a day doesn’t set a good tone for the rest of the day. I received a text from my husband at 7:45 am. Yea, thank you sweetie. So as we all now know Tony Stewart was racing in Iowa Monday night where he crashed his car and ended up with a broken tibia and fibula in his right leg. Basically the bones that are located in the lower part of your leg were the ones he broke. His first surgery was to stabilize his leg and clean the wound. In his second surgery he had a metal rod placed inside his tibia. Looks like a long road of recovery for Mr. Stewart. Get well soon Mr. Stewart!

Of course with his accident on Monday night, everyone has been debating whether or not Tony should be risking his chances at another championship by racing in other racing series. I have been on the fence about this one. I am not all that thrilled that his 2013 season is pretty much done with even if he were to try to make it back. But on the other hand, this is what Tony Stewart does. He’s a racer. Tony knows full well what can happen to him when he steps into any race car. If this would have happened while he was driving his Cup car there wouldn’t be as much debate. But since it happened during his off time away from Cup, the debate rages on. Should Tony even be racing in other series and risk his career? What if you are Mobile 1 or Bass Pro Shops, do you really enjoy watching your investment racing in other series other than Cup? His sponsors have invested millions of dollars into sponsoring the #14 team with Tony Stewart behind the wheel. Tony Stewart is a bankable star in NASCAR. Even when he has a bad day, he is still worth all the money a sponsor invests in his team. He has three championships under his belt. He is one of the top stars in NASCAR and he gives it his all every week. Definitely a sound investment. But now what?

Max Papis will be replacing Tony this weekend at Watkins Glen. As for future races, a replacement driver has not been named. No matter who it gets behind the wheel, it will be strange not to see Tony racing. I will be cheering on Max Papis this weekend at The Glen. I would love for him to win, but if he can’t, I hope he will make a good showing for the morale of the #14 team and Smoke Nation.

Other thoughts…

  • Denny Hamlin vs Kyle Petty:  Once again Kyle Petty’s comments about a driver has sparked controversy.  Earlier in the year it was about Junior, then Danica, and now Denny.  Regardless of what you think of Kyle Petty, he does have some insight about the sport that others don ‘t.   He is the grandson of Lee Petty and son of Richard Petty.  He pretty much has been part of the sport since birth.  I had a chance to meet Kyle when his charity ride made a stop here in Lubbock last year.  I may not always agree with his opinions, but I think he is good for NASCAR.  To me he speaks his mind and isn’t afraid to apologize when he is wrong.  He says what everyone is thinking.  He doesn’t it play it safe like some commentators sometimes do.  I will admit I didn’t take too kindly to his remarks about Danica Patrick, but I respect his opinions.
  • On August 17, 2013, SPEED TV will no longer exist as we know it.  It will become the new Fox Sports 1.  Most of my Speed television viewing was centered around NASCAR.  However, I did find myself watching other shows on the channel.  I watched Dale Jr. “Back in the Day” (which I so miss).  Because NASCAR didn’t start until February, I was able to watch the 24 hours at Daytona.  To me this signaled that NASCAR was around the corner. I loved watching motorcross.  I will miss Wind Tunnel hosted by Dave DeSpain the most.  I found myself tuning in every Sunday night.  He did cover NASCAR, but he also discussed other racing series as well.  He said it like it was and wasn’t afraid to give his opinions.  Just like Kyle Petty, I may not have agreed with him on occasion, but I respected his insight.  I guess that’s what I look for in my commentators.  Thank you Dave!  I hope you find a place somewhere so you can keep on giving us your insight.
  • Along the same lines with the whole change over to FS1, why doesn’t NASCAR look into creating their own channel?  I mean if we can have a Golf Chanell, why can’t we have a NASCAR channel?  I think this would be a great avenue for NASCAR to showcase their sport.  I would love to be able to watch the lower level series in NASCAR (i.e. ARCA).  Could they fill 24 hours of programming over 365 days?  Why not?  The Golf Channel does it.  The NFL network does it, even in the off-season.  Come of Mr. France let’s give it a go!

One last note…

I am not being paid or am I compensated in any way.  This is just a shameless plug from one Tony Stewart to another Tony Stewart fan.  A new local radio program debuted this past Tuesday night.  The show is called “That Dang Ol’ Racing Show”.  The show is hosted by Ryan Hyatt.  For you folks who live in and around Raiderland, this name is very familiar to you.  He hosted the Williams and Hyatt Show for many years.  Now he has taken his passion for NASCAR and racing to the airwaves.  I for one was excited to know there would finally be a forum for all of us NASCAR fans out here.  It sometimes isn’t easy being a NASCAR fan in the state of Texas.  I mean seriously, football is our state sport.  But as much as I love football and baseball, NASCAR is my obsession.  I am hoping others out there will tune in on Tuesday nights from 6-7 pm on Real Country 98.5 to listen.  I for one will be and who knows I might even call in every once in a while.

 

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