2011 Daytona 500

Hello Everyone –

Daytona Speedweeks are finally over. We definitely deserved better than a 19th-place finish on Sunday, but that’s the way it goes. You win some, you lose some. We had a good day with our NAPA Toyota until the final 20 laps or so. We got turned around sideways and it forced me down pit road. It cost us the lead draft. It appeared the caution saved us, but then we got tangled up in a wreck. I think what happened was I drove off of Turn 2 and ran right up against the wall. I am not totally sure what caused the chain of events, but my old buddy Ryan Newman came up and just slammed me into the fence. He told me after the race that it got four or five wide and I was just the guy caught up on the right side. Everybody tried to come up and I was sitting there as far up as I could go. They just ran out of room. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. This kind of situation happens all the time in restrictor-plate racing. You run hard all day and you never know what the outcome is going to be.

We ran the first part of our race rather conservatively and it kept us out of the wrecks. We took care of our stuff. When it was time to go, I was able to hook up with a couple of good cars. We led some laps. I am proud of my NAPA AUTO PARTS team and the car they were able to give me. It was definitely capable of finishing up front. It just didn’t work out in the end so we left Daytona 18th in points and we’re not in as big of a hole as some people. In my opinion, the real race starts this weekend in Phoenix. We put a lot of preparation into our short-track program during the off-season with testing, so Sunday will be a good gauge to see where we actually stack up. It’s been a good track for me over the years. We had a pretty decent run last fall so I think we’ll be even better on Sunday.

This week I am pretty busy. Monday I had several competition meetings to attend. MWR works hard to do everything we can to be the best. Everyone is committed and I really feel like this is going to be a good year. I also completed several P.R. requests including calling into my weekly segment on Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody and Angie Skinner. Tuesday afternoon I head to Atlanta to attend a big store owner’s meeting with the folks at NAPA. Then Thursday I head to Phoenix.

Before I go, I hope everyone saw the new NAPA commercial that Michael and I did together. It got a lot of play during Speedweeks. Both the media and the fans came up to me and commented on how much they like the new commercial. I’m getting better at lip synching and if it helps sell parts, then that’s all that really matters. Thank you for your continued support.

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