Hi from Richmond…..

Hi Everyone — My week started early. It started with my television show on Monday. Tuesday I headed up to Detroit for Dow Automotive to be on their Webcast which was really cool. Thousands of people across the world watched and we were a part of it. We had the UPS car up there that had their logo on it. Then I headed to Louisville, Kentucky and had dinner with some UPS folks. We ate at the restaurant where O.J. Simpson got kicked out of. I thought it was kind of cool. We went over to Churchill Downs on Wednesday which was the first time I had ever been there, especially being from Kentucky. It was pretty cool to see everything. I was able to get a feel for what the Kentucky Derby is all about. I certainly know what it takes to put on a NASCAR race, but it was interesting to see how other sporting events are run.  The highlight of the day was meeting Big Brown. I got to pet him. I also got to talk to his owners and his jockey. I really enjoyed that. It was the first time ever that I really got to know a horse that was running in the Derby. It was fun on Saturday to actually cheer for him and see him win. I even bet on him. I also met a guy named Joe Johnson. He’s a jockey and he’s from Owensboro, Kentucky. He came up to me and introduced himself. He told me he was going to win the next race that was scheduled for the day. I thought it was cool so I decided to bet on him. His horse was eight to one. Unfortunately, I got to talking to some people and did not get to follow through with placing the bet. He ended up winning. That was just my luck!I traveled home that afternoon since it was my birthday and went out to Rock Barn where I play golf. I shot a round with a buddy of mine. He’s about 70 years old and he beat me. Thursday was back at the shop. It was the first time all week that I got to stop in. I got up to speed on all the things we are working on. 

Friday morning it was off to Richmond. We qualified respectively. I think I could have qualified better than that but I overshot Turn 1 on the second lap. I didn’t pick up as much time as I had hoped. I felt really good about what we had for the race on Saturday night. It turns out we were really on it. We stayed on the lead lap early. The car got off a little bit during the middle of the race. It wasn’t to my liking. We got it tuned up. I think we were well on our way to a top-10 finish. We made our final pit stop. We were making really good time against the field. We were catching the leader who still needed to make a pit stop. Unfortunately, we got crashed. With spotters these days and drivers being responsible for their cars – somehow Casey crashed into us. Casey and his spotter must not have communicated. I was way faster than Casey. I wasn’t bothering anyone. I was faster so I kept running on the outside. I was all the way up beside him when he crashed us both. That was disappointing.

The official reason we were out of the race was because we were parked. We were parked by NASCAR for aggressive driving because I hit him back after it happened. NASCAR did not like what I did. The wreck basically put us out so it wasn’t the parking that did the damage. It was the crash.  Looking back, at Phoenix, we had a strong car and gas mileage got us twice. We ended up 23rd. At Talladega we were coming to the white flag with the lead and broke. And then Saturday night, we just got into a wreck. We really had three really solid runs for the NAPA team. Not the points to show for it, but I am certainly real proud of where we are heading.  As I am putting this blog together, I am over at Lowe’s Motor Speedway testing in Charlotte. I am testing the NAPA car we are going to race in the All-Star weekend. We are learning a bunch of valuable information. We are also learning a few things that should work for Darlington this weekend. We will continue to hustle and improve our NAPA cars. I am really looking forward to getting the finishes we deserve and I know they are right around the corner. Before I go, please don’t forget to vote for me in the All-Star balloting. You can vote as many times as you want. So please vote often because I would be proud to represent you as well as NAPA in one of the biggest races of the year. Here’s what you can do: Sprint customers, vote on your phones by texting “NASCAR” to 7777 and your vote counts double. Visit participating Sprint retail stores or visit sprint.com/speed for more information. Vote Now! Vote Often! Thank You!

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