I love night racing because it’s how most of us got started. I also like it because I get to sleep in. When it comes to Richmond, I love going there. I’ve had chances to win and I’ve also road the wall. I’ve done a lot of things. It’s a fun track that’s very challenging. It’s an accomplishment when you can run well.
During our two practices on Friday, we were pretty good in race trim, as far as speed and lap times were concerned. Then we went to qualifying trim near the end of Happy Hour and it did the same things it did in race trim — it just wasn’t fast. When we qualified, the track was really slick and it was hard to get a hold of. I just couldn’t get the car to turn at all and I couldn’t get any power down. I was disappointed with our 26th-place start because I normally qualify well. Despite our qualifying effort, I thought we were going to race well. It’s a long race – 400 laps so there was plenty of time to get to the front with our starting spot.
When I left Richmond, I was feeling great! Our night looked easy on paper, but it was a tough night. We had to battle hard. We were really bad at the beginning of the race. I told Pat during the caution with about 10 laps to go that it didn’t matter what happened, I have never ever in my racing career experienced what we went through. Starting that bad and being able to make adjustments to constantly get better was amazing. For awhile, we were the best car on the track according to the Lap Tracker.
We’ll just keep digging. Our team is a work in progress. I love this team. They are doing a great job for me. I just got to thank NAPA and Toyota and everybody on the car for giving me this opportunity to come out of Richmond with a top-10 finish.
In case you missed it, I was hot on the campaign trail for the Sprint All-Star Fan Vote in Richmond. I campaigned on NASCAR Race Hub, NASCAR Smarts and NASCAR Race Day. I also visited the Sprint Experience to encourage fans to cast their vote at the Sprint Fan Vote display. I also want to thank Rutledge and Kyle Petty for endorsing me for at least 30 minutes during the NASCAR Smarts show. If I win the vote, I am taking them fishing. As I said before, if you have some time, please vote for me. Every vote counts! Vote here: http://www.nascar.com/promos/allstar/2010/vote/
Coming up this weekend, I will be heading to my favorite track Darlington. The timing couldn’t be better as I will be going head-to-head against Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin in the finals of the DirecTV Head 2 Head Knockout program. If I can outrun all of them, I will take home $285,000 for my foundation. So far I have won $35,000 for my foundation so I want to thank DirecTV for allowing me to participate in this awesome program!
Enjoy watching the race this Saturday night!