I’m doing well after my Flyers lost the Stanley Cup. I have my thoughts as to why they came up short, but it doesn’t really matter. They made an amazing comeback when so many people wrote them off during the season. I also caught a bunch of bass last week while on vacation so it was a great trip!
Last week at Michigan, we had to grind it for a 17th-place finish. It was a tough day. We were able to salvage something as it was pretty rough there for awhile. When I got out of the car after the race, I told Pat Tryson that I probably almost spun out 35 times. Spinning out doesn’t sound bad until you add the 200 miles an hour part. It was a strange day because we fought one thing in traffic and then fought a completely different condition when we got a clean racetrack. We would run for awhile and adjust on the car to do one thing and then we would find ourselves in a different situation so the previous adjustments would not work. It was one of those days where nothing seemed to go right.
I think if we expect to get better, we need to continue to try new things. There are some things that look great on the simulator and sometimes some things will feel great in practice. But when you get into race conditions, and around other cars, they don’t work in the way you had planned. I think that’s what happened to us on Sunday. Our NAPA Toyota was really running well throughout the weekend. I felt really good about our car after practice on Saturday. But again, we weren’t in that 20 or 30 car pack. It completely changed our car. It really caught me off guard. We just missed it. Today we had our competition meeting and we went through it all. I think we know what we did wrong. We’ll just go back there next time and prove ourselves right.
The last three weeks have been disappointing. We found ourselves in the top 12 in points and were on a little bit of a roll. Then we hit a few tough weeks. We missed it at Charlotte and Michigan and got wrecked on the last lap at Pocono while running in the top 10. That’s just how it goes sometimes. It’s up and down. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing is hard. The good thing is our new team is learning a lot of things – even if it’s what not to do. Hopefully when the time comes when we start going back to these tracks for a second time, we can focus on solidifying our Chase spot.
Coming up this weekend we have the Infineon Raceway. It’s a tough track for me, but fortunately I have a really good teammate to lean on. Marcos Ambrose has always been one of the cars to beat on road courses over the last few years. I am really going to feed off of him and try to learn as much as I can. He’s got a really good approach to road racing. It’s a different perspective than mine so I am looking forward to tackling Infineon in the “Marcos Ambrose” way. I think if I can follow his lead and all the small things fall into place, the NAPA team will come out of there with a great day.