Pocono

Hello Everyone –

We really worked hard for that ninth place finish this past weekend in Pocono. I guess you could say we overachieved a little bit which is good. We had a tough Friday. We struggled getting ready for qualifying. When it was time to lay down a lap it wasn’t very good. Then on Saturday, we made a lot of changes and actually got pretty happy with our NAPA Toyota. Starting 28th and in the back at Pocono wasn’t the ideal situation, obviously. To make it even harder, the weather kept changing. It also rained on Saturday night so the track was green. It was a real challenge for all of the drivers over the course of the 500 miles. At one point we saw Jimmie Johnson dominating and then at the end of the race, he was behind us and we drove away from him. It took us a long time to get where we wanted to be but with 70 or 80 laps to go, we were in the top 15 and started to pick off spots. The pit strategy that Pat Tryson put into play really worked to our benefit. We were decent and able to stay up near the front. For the NAPA team to get a top-10 finish was a real accomplishment. I am proud of everyone and Pat did a great job calling the race. Hopefully we are back on the right track. If we can continue to do what we did in Pocono and take advantage of having really good cars then this NAPA team will be in good shape.

Last week JTG-Daugherty made two announcements concerning their team for next season. Obviously MWR has a technical alliance with them so it will somewhat effect our organization. I am sorry to see Marcos Ambrose leave. He has been a great teammate and has really been an asset to MWR’s road course program. I wish him success in whatever he decides to do.

Replacing Marcos will be Bobby Labonte. I think JTG-Daugherty Racing is a really good move for him. He’s got a lot of experience and has been with big teams in the past. It will be fun to see him in our cars and I think he’ll be impressed with our Toyotas and the resources he will have access to. He’s a champion so we know he’ll be able to bring a lot to the table to and help us continue to build upon the momentum we have going.

I am really looking forward to going to Watkins Glen. It is a good track and I’ve had some great runs there in the past. Of the two road courses we go to, Watkins Glen has produced better results for me. Earlier this year, the NAPA team ran really well at Infineon Raceway. We had a top-three going until we got wrecked so we didn’t get the finish we wanted there. But we had a very strong car and I think Michael Waltrip Racing’s road course program is really strong and a lot of that credit goes to Marcos Ambrose. He’s done a lot of testing for us and the experience he has has really helped us with our setups. I think our NAPA Toyota will be really fast so hopefully it will be a great weekend. I think we have a good chance at being up front and challenging for the win.

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