The Chase officially starts this weekend in New Hampshire with the field of 12 set. I know what it is like to be one of those 12 drivers and heading into the summer, I felt like the NAPA team was in good shape to make it. We had a lot of momentum going and then things started to happen that were out of our control. Infineon is obviously what comes to mind first. Regardless, we currently sit 20th in points, less than 200 markers out of the best finishing spot available of 13th place. It’s something we can accomplish because this NAPA team is a much better team than 20th.
Heading into the final 10 races of the season nothing changes from the standpoint that we are here to win. But what does change a little bit is our approach. We can take more chances now and use some of the track time as test sessions to prepare for next season so that we can improve our chances of making it in 2011.
One area that we will be working hard to improve is our ability to keep up with the track. It seems like we are really strong in the beginning of a race, but then our NAPA Toyota starts to go away at the midway point. Our car needs to be better heading into the final stages of a race. If we can improve that we should be in very good shape.
As for this weekend, I like our chances and it’s still a very exciting time for us as a team.
Coming up next Wednesday, I’ll be hosting my golf tournament. It’s hard to believe, but it’s been going on for three years. It seems like yesterday Sherry and I came up with the idea of starting a foundation. I want to thank NAPA for sponsoring the event. We’re hitting the links at the Sea Oaks Country Club in Little Egg Harbor Township in New Jersey. It’s about 30 miles from my hometown of Mayetta. Then we’re going to end the evening with the 19th Hole Dinner Celebration. The dinner is a lot of fun and we’ll be hosting our auction again. Last year Michael proved to be a really good auctioneer. Who knew, right?
I’m really proud of what my foundation has accomplished since Sherry and I launched it back in 2007. So far, we’ve raised more than $400,000 for a variety of community programs. This year we’ve got some new projects. We’re starting a backpack program for kids who go to the Troutman Elementary School in Troutman, N.C. We chose that school because it’s not far from where I live. Each Friday, kids who participate, will get a backpack filled with food and school supplies. We heard stories about some of the kids coming into school saying they were hungry and didn’t have much to eat on the weekends. I’m happy to say that on Friday the program will be kicking off.
We’re also getting ready to build a children’s wing at Southern Ocean County Hospital. It’s the local hospital where I was born. We’re calling it the Martin Truex Jr. Pediatric Unit. It’s going to be a really cool place where kids can go and get treated. We’re designing the place with them in mind.
Before I go, I want to thank everyone at NAPA and all of the fans who have made everything possible. It’s been very humbling to say the least. It’s great to see how we all can work together to make a difference. If you are in the New Jersey area next week or interested in finding out more, please visit http://www.martintruexjrfoundation.org.