Carrying the checkered flag, driver/owner Tony Stewart took his No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet for a victory lap saluting fans after he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 500 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)When Tony Stewart announced his plans to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and owner I was skeptical. I had no idea what would happen but I can tell you that I definitely wasn’t thinking he would be leading in the points standings and winning races. Yea, I thought things would be “interesting” which is code for “not winning.” I didn’t think he would stink up the place but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to contend for the Championship like he is now.

His success is great though. I’m happy that Tony is leading and that he won this weekend’s race at Pocono. I know I’ve talked smack about Tony in the past, and I totally stand by it, but there’s something about him that I do like. I couldn’t tell you what it is right now but there’s something. ;)

And because I’m a sucker for emotional things I love, love, loved it when TNT showed Tony’s dad in the pits. I loved seeing him wipe away tears as he watched his son drive into Victory Lane for the first time as a driver/owner. That’s a very sweet moment and those are the things that add that personal, sentimental touch to this sometimes impersonal, corporate sponsorship driven sport.

On Saturday I watched the Nationwide race at Nashville. No, I’m not going to talk about Kyle Busch’s ill-conceived plan for breaking up the race’s trophy into pieces to share with his team. (I basically agree with what Kyle Petty said about it during Sunday’s broadcast.) I want to talk about Brad Keselowski. Is it just me or does Brad seem a lot more mature and manly this year? He seems a lot less goofy (and I mean that in a really nice way!) and more sure of himself. Does winning a race make your voice change? Hmm, if so, maybe there’s hope for Joey Logano.

I kid, I kid. :) Photos after the jump!


Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota celebrates by smashing the Gibson Guitar given to the winner after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300 at the Nashville Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota celebrates by smashing the Gibson Guitar given to the winner after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300 at the Nashville Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, gives daughter Ella Sophia earplugs on pit road just before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 500 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Penn. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)

Are Ella’s clothes available for adults? That dress is too cute!

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, gives daughter Ella Sophia earplugs on pit road just before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 500 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Penn. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)

Richard Petty did the unthinkable for 13-year-old Thomas Harkins Jr. -- shared his famous hat. The New York City Spelling Bee champion met with Petty on Saturday morning in the garage at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Richard Petty did the unthinkable for 13-year-old Thomas Harkins Jr. — shared his famous hat. The New York City Spelling Bee champion met with Petty on Saturday morning in the garage at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Pocono 500 Grand Marshal and star of the new film

Pocono 500 Grand Marshal and star of the new film “The Proposal” Ryan Reynolds (left) stopped by the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet hauler for a chat and tour with driver Jimmie Johnson. Reynolds attended the drivers’ meeting, was part of driver introductions and waved the green flag to start the Pocono 500 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Penn. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

(Left to Right) Jason Leffler, Mike Bliss and Brad Keselowski talk Friday about the NASCAR Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300 at the Nashville Superspeedway (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to Right) Jason Leffler, Mike Bliss and Brad Keselowski talk Friday about the NASCAR Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300 at the Nashville Superspeedway (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)