I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend. It was a beautiful day here in Charlotte. I spent all day Monday in my pool. Sherry, Lexie and myself kicked back and relaxed. I did take time out to call Dave Moody at Sirius Speedway. I wanted to let all the listeners of his show know about this month’s NAPA Brakes promotion. I’ll also be on Friday night’s Trackside show on SPEED to talk about it. I hope we can help sell quite a few more brakes for you! The paint scheme we are running this weekend in Richmond looks sharp!
Today we’re on the track at Gresham Motorsports Park to do some testing. We are running pretty well, but we just need to keep getting better so that our top-10 runs equal top-10 finishes or even better. The extra track time should help us.
It was an awesome weekend to race in Atlanta. The weather was perfect and it was nice to visit with everyone in the NAPA suite and Race Day Experience. Joining the NAPA Know How crew was Mr. Susor and his family along with Gaylord Spencer and his wife Terri. I enjoyed having them along for the ride. For awhile there, I thought we had a chance to meet up in victory lane when the night was over. I have to say, I am disappointed with our 12th-place finish. For the most part, we had a really good night. The final five percent of our evening wasn’t as good. The lowest position we ran all night was where we finished. We just couldn’t get the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota to handle the way we needed it to. We had some really good runs through the middle part of the race. We had some good restarts to get some track position. But right there towards the end, we seemed to find ourselves in the wrong spot during the last two restarts. We got jammed up. What a lot of people might not realize is Atlanta is probably one of the toughest tracks on restarts. It’s pretty common to see a lot of drivers spin their tires because the track is pretty worn and slick. There were a few times when the leaders checked up to make sure the guys behind them didn’t get a run going and if you have to slow down at all before you go to throttle at the restart, it is really hard to not spin the tires. That’s what hurt us in the end especially on the restart when we came out on pit road with the lead. Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon chose to stay out and were on older tires. I was behind the 24 and when we got into Turn 1, Jeff all but stopped. I got stuck behind him and it cost us six spots going through Turns 1 and 2. It really hurt us because the caution came out about two laps later. We all pitted and my guys did a 12 second spot. I was surprised that our fast stop didn’t gain anything. We went in ninth and went out ninth. Then the final restart bit us too.
All and all, the NAPA Toyota ran pretty darn good all night. . I wish we would have done better at the end, but we learned and gained a lot from the race. We keep getting closer. As I’ve said before, we are a new team and a work in progress. I really had fun on Sunday night! It’s all coming together so stay tuned!