Talladega

Hi Everyone,

How about that race at Talladega on Sunday? For a split second, I thought we had the race won! Regardless, it’s nice to finally finish a race off with a result that reflected how good our NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota ran all day. We had a big push there at the end and had a chance at the win. So, Talladega wasn’t a win for us, but I am OK with sixth place.

The NAPA Know How crew built a new car for this race after we destroyed our superspeedway car at Daytona. The new car was even better. Toyota brought an engine for us with even more horsepower. Overall, I was very happy with all of the improvements. As you saw, we were competitive all day. We ran up front and even led some laps.

Racing was really interesting. Two cars running back-to-back were faster than a long line of cars. I’m not sure why or how it happens. It’s rather crazy to see two guys pull out in 20th position and pass everybody that is in line. I guess it has something to do with the splitter and the way the nose is on the car. I may not understand it, but it makes for a lot of fun.

My NAPA Toyota was a strong car that could push in a two-car draft. I worked well with a lot of guys, but what was strange, I couldn’t push my teammates very well. And if anyone got on my bumper, I was able to go fast, regardless of who it was. Joey Logano was a huge help to me. He pushed us all the way to the front. We caught up to the leaders – David (Reutimann), Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Juan Pablo Montoya. We had the push to win it, but the hole closed up at the end. I have to thank Joey for the push. Obviously at the end, I was happy to be in one of those two-car drafts. It almost paid off. It was a good ending to a fun day. There is no rhyme or reason to the final laps at Talladega. We were fortunate that everything worked out.

It’s nice to have some momentum heading into this weekend’s race at Texas. It’s a big weekend for us. We’re bringing the NAPA Signature Toyota to raise even more awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The NAPA Know How Facebook promotion raised $51,000. We have over 2,400 names on the car so that is really neat and something I am very proud of. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The car is literally a show stopper because everyone on the shop floor at Michael Waltrip Racing stops and looks at it. I can only imagine what will happen once it rolls off the NAPA hauler in Texas. Fans, especially those affected some way by breast cancer, will appreciate the car. I know I am very proud of it. It’s probably the most meaningful paint scheme I have ever raced and I hope to make everyone proud when it goes around that race track.

We also sold out of all the NAPA All Out for the Cure hats. I want to thank all the fans who submitted names for the car and those fans that made a trip to their NAPA AUTO PARTS stores, AutoCare Centers and Michael Waltrip Racing to buy hats. All of the effort to help us is very much appreciated and on Sunday, NAPA will hand over a $250,000 check to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We’ll be doing it during the 9:30 a.m. NASCAR Race Day on SPEED broadcast.

Here’s a little video from me: http://tiny.cc/cbwq5.

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