We got out of Talladega with a top-15 finish. We ran a conservative race to say the least because in the last five races there before Sunday, my best finish was 31st. I’ve always managed to get in the big wreck so to survive and start the final green-white-checkered restart in fifth position – I was really pleased with that. Unfortunately we got shuffled out in the end by Kyle Busch and that prevented us from getting the finish we were really hoping for. The same thing happened to my teammate David Reutimann. We had friends when we were pushing them to the front but when we needed a push, we had no friends. That’s Talladega. You try to help each other when you can and not hurt each other, but you get in a lot of different positions and a lot of things happen. The NAPA team lost a chance at some points when our top-five went away, but we still got a solid finish. It moved us up to 15th in the championship standings. We are in the hunt and less than 40 points out of The Chase.
It’s no secret that Reutimann has had a tough couple of weeks. He’s been running really well and it seems like every time he has a really good car, something happens to him. I feel bad for him.
For the NAPA team, we are still kind of hit or miss so we spent Monday at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. to prepare for this weekend’s race at Richmond International Raceway. Pat and I continue to work well together. We are on the same page. We just need a little more time to figure out the new Michael Waltrip Racing cars. The track time on Monday was really good for us and Richmond is a place that Pat and I have had success so hopefully we’ve got a good place to start when we roll our NAPA Toyota off the truck on Friday. I would really like to see us get a top-five finish for NAPA on Saturday night.
Speaking of NAPA, I had a great time on Thursday at the Employee Appreciation Day in Atlanta. Michael and I were both there along with Ron Capps. I enjoyed meeting everyone. It was a lot of fun. Everyone in the NAPA family has made me feel welcome and I appreciate it. If you want to see a video of what we did there click here: http://bit.ly/b6cVPBI really enjoy being a part of NAPA’s racing program.
As we head into Richmond, I am hot on the campaign trail for the Sprint All-Star Fan Vote. This week I am campaigning on NASCAR Race Hub and Race Day. We’ll keep you posted as to when to tune in. I cannot stress enough how much I want to be a part of the All-Star race. I have had the privilege of getting in all three ways – the Fan Vote, racing my way in and winning a Cup race. It doesn’t matter how I get in – it matters that we have a NAPA Toyota in the main event come May 22nd. If you have some time, please vote for me. Every vote counts! Vote here: http://www.nascar.com/promos/allstar/2010/vote/
Have a good week and enjoy watching the race on Saturday night!