Monday mornings are always difficult, but this particular Monday was a beast unto itself with no NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing this past weekend to keep us going during a mid-summer haze.
With NASCAR's premier division coming off its final off weekend of the 2014 season, it's time to get revved up for the 20th annual Brickyard 400 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN) on Sunday.
So as we ease back into our weekly routines, let's first take a look back at how the sport's finest drivers spent their off time before they charge hard into the final seven weeks before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins in earnest.
Jimmie Johnson and family took off for a nice Italian vacation and apparently his kids are braver than all of us.
Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon also took his family on a sun-shining vacation and the four-time champ ran into newly crowned World Cup champion Mario Goetze.
Oh, and it looks like Gordon might be carrying some facial fur into Indy this weekend (wouldn't be the first time).
Another Hendrick driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., spent some time in the sun with his lady Amy Reimann and some beverages. He also gets extra points for wearing an awesome Davy Crockett hat (no, not that one) that he got from Reimann's mom.
Cheers y'all. ☀️🍺😎 pic.twitter.com/05rn3v1Ps6— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 18, 2014
And wrapping up the Hendrick guys, we know Kasey Kahne was in Chicago on Saturday, where he finished third in the EnjoyIllinois.com 300.
After that, we have no idea what he did. But whatever it was, it sounded fun.
That was a blast 😃— Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne) July 21, 2014
In the Stewart-Haas Racing camp, Kevin Harvick spent some time teaching young son Keelan how to golf.
He's coming for you, Rory McIlroy.
Teammate Kurt Busch and his girlfriend Patricia Driscoll took off to Europe -- where, much to Busch's delight, he could drive as fast as he wanted in certain places.
The pair also spent nights in multiple castles, so they have our vote for best vacation out of anyone so far.
Think I prefer the villages to the cities. & nothing better than driving as fast as you want on the hwy legally 🏰 pic.twitter.com/9ATpOKAkQy— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) July 21, 2014
3rd castle we stayed in on this trip! Waking up to this beautiful blue lake every morning pic.twitter.com/8vrwz30ZZ6— Patricia Driscoll (@Patricia_AFF) July 21, 2014
Also visited the salt mines yesterday morning and Eagles Nest pic.twitter.com/PZvGVnzT8z— Patricia Driscoll (@Patricia_AFF) July 21, 2014
Salzburg was amazing-- even got suckered into putting a love lock on the bridge pic.twitter.com/VH94nB1UAC— Patricia Driscoll (@Patricia_AFF) July 21, 2014
A view from the fortress in Salzburg pic.twitter.com/afgNmJ2eWO— Patricia Driscoll (@Patricia_AFF) July 21, 2014
Salzburg pic.twitter.com/l5Ap2USm1L— Patricia Driscoll (@Patricia_AFF) July 21, 2014
Innsbrook pic.twitter.com/2pJdHlbkTX— Patricia Driscoll (@Patricia_AFF) July 21, 2014
First castle we stayed in north of Munich pic.twitter.com/377gDdF899— Patricia Driscoll (@Patricia_AFF) July 21, 2014
Clint Bowyer went back home for his time off, taking part in the sixth annual 79 Fund Support Emporia golf tournament and auction, which raised $350,000 for upcoming city projects.
Bowyer's boss, Michael Waltrip, also did some golfing -- and was quite excited to see that his birdie during the American Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe made it onto TV.
Denny Hamlin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were also there as players, with Hamlin taking top honors among the three with a total of five points, beating Stenhouse's total of four and Michael Waltrip's total of -18. Danica Patrick also made an appearance to cheer on boyfriend Stenhouse.
The tourney was scored on a Modified Stableford system, which awards or deducts points based on the amount of strokes at each hole.
David Gilliland, like Kahne and fellow Chicagoland racer Kyle Larson, chose to spend the free time in the seat of a race car, taking to Irwindale Speedway to race against not only his father, but his son, Todd, too.
Team Penske driver Joey Logano spent some time lake-side on a boat.
Luckily for Logano, Morgan Shepherd was nowhere to be found during his wakeboarding runs.
Almirola got some time off from his intense "American Ninja Warrior" training to take his family to the beach.
Had a fantastic week with @JaniceAlmirola and the kids at the beach. Back home and ready to rock for the next 17 weeks! Let's go!— Aric Almirola (@aric_almirola) July 21, 2014
And Austin Dillon had really terrible weather in Playa Del Camen Mexico.
See those clouds? Man, what a tough break.
Of course, all good things must come to an end.
Enable airplane mode. Back to the real world.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 21, 2014