Daytona 500


Hello Everyone –

The Daytona 500 was wild! I had a lot of fun out there in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. I am proud of our entire team and what we were able to accomplish over the entire Daytona Speedweeks. My pit crew was absolutely phenomenal as they averaged 12 second stops! That’s what a driver dreams about.

If I’d have to rate our performance, I would give it an A++.

There was drama. We saw two red flags to fix a pothole. Despite the delays, it seemed as if our NAPA Toyota got better each time we went back out. A break in play really didn’t hurt us.

NASCAR implemented a new green-white-checkered-flag rule when we got to Daytona and it was put to good use on Sunday. Now, NASCAR will allow for three chances to race to the finish instead of ending a under caution. During the 500, we were able to get it done with two green-white-checkered-flag finishes and it pretty much went down as I expected. There were a bunch of tore up cars, but I am sure the fans feel as if they got their monies worth. There were 10 or 15 of us that could have won the race just based on how the cards fell. It was suspenseful and even I couldn’t figure out what was going to happen. I enjoyed it out there as the guys used their heads and raced really hard, but never crossed the line and that even includes Kevin Harvick. When we took the lead going into Turn 1, he was pushing me. I knew he wasn’t going to push me to the win. He was doing what he had to do to put himself in a position to win. I felt him pull off my bumper and I tried to block. I couldn’t get there quick enough and he had me hooked. He was turning me. It is what it is and I don’t blame him for what he did. It was cool and it was a great race. I am really happy with the outcome for all of us.

Coming out of Daytona with my best-career finish is really exciting for me. Most importantly, we had a shot at winning the Daytona 500. I had high hopes during the off season. I felt like this would be my time. I felt like Michael Waltrip Racing was the place for me to come and step up my game. So far, it looks as if everything may fall into place. Pat Tryson has done an awesome job with the NAPA Toyota and my pit crew is fast. For our first weekend together, I’d say we will have more shots at getting to victory lane and that’s all I can ask for.

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