I just got done having lunch with Bob Susor and John Hannigan at the National NAPA AutoCare Council Meeting at Michael Waltrip Racing. I enjoyed meeting all of the AutoCare shop owners who were on hand to participate. They asked me all kinds of questions and they wanted to know about the fight that broke out at Texas between Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton. Tempers definitely flare out on the track and I’m happy to say, I’ve never been called to the NASCAR Trailer. I pretty much saw it unfold as most fans did by watching it on a television. I was in the garage as the NAPA Know How crew tried to repair our car. What a disappointing day for us and to be honest, I was happy to leave Texas. You have days like that, but it still doesn’t make it any easy to accept. We were on mark for at least a top 15 and then problems started. At first, I thought we were going to be OK, but after I cut a second tire down, it ended our chances.
I cannot tell you how disappointed I am over what happened at Texas because we were running the NAPA Signature Toyota paint scheme. I wanted to turn in a great run as a way of thanking everyone who participated in the project. We ended up having over 2,400 names on it. Several people who made donations as well as others whose names were actually on the car came to see it over the weekend. The car made a big impact not only on me, but my entire NAPA AUTO PARTS team. One breast cancer survivor introduced herself to my crew as they pushed the car out to qualifying. She was so happy to see it and then looked for her name. She found it and wanted her picture taken with my crew by the car. On Sunday, a man introduced himself to our shock specialist Luke Cunnington. He told us how the car meant a lot to him as his wife’s name was also on the car. Unfortunately, she lost her battle with breast cancer three weeks ago.
The person who described our NAPA Signature Toyota the best was my Honorary Pit Crew Member Marcia Dluhy. She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2007 and after 12 surgeries and lots of chemo and radiation treatments, she is in remission. She took one look at the car and said, “That car has a lot of power.”
What she said has stuck with me. After our month-long campaign raising funds and awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, I cannot be more proud to be associated with a sponsor like NAPA AUTO PARTS. It was nice to see all of our hard work end with a $250,000 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We presented the check to the breast cancer awareness group on Sunday morning during SPEED’s Race Day broadcast. If you missed it, you can watch it here: http://tiny.cc/ox853.
I’m off to Phoenix. I’ll be pulling double duty again. I hope to have two strong performances to talk to you about next week.