Hi Everyone —
It’s hard to believe but we are at the halfway point in our 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. It seems like yesterday that I wrote my first blog for you after the completion of the Daytona 500.
The past month has been very encouraging for the NAPA AUTO PARTS team. Our cars have run well. I think what is interesting is we could have finished second at Michigan fairly easily, in my opinion. We had a fast enough car to get up there, but our strategy just did not play out well. We also got the worst break on the last lap when I got crashed. The fact of the matter is the second-place finish we got at New Hampshire was, to me, payback for the finish we didn’t get at Michigan. The moral of the story is we are running well. At Infineon Raceway we had a good car, but terrible fuel mileage. We had a good finish at New Hampshire because of strategy and mileage. In Daytona, we were in the top 10 on the last lap and got wrecked. You put all of that together and what NAPA wants to see, as my sponsor, is our car up front. NAPA wants to see us on television and in good standing when it comes to final race results. We have hosted a bunch of NAPA guests this season, and they deserve to have their car up front so they can cheer and be proud. Making everyone proud means the world to me. I think for the last month, we have been able to accomplish that. It is my plan to continue to build on it. We will continue to figure out how to not only run up front like we have been doing, but also get those consistent up-front finishes.
If I had to grade the NAPA team, I would say that we are a solid grade of C and getting better. The comment part in our report card where the teacher usually writes, “Michael talks too much”, now says, “This team is heading in a positive direction, and it is fun to see the progress.” We are passing, and we are improving.
Overall, I am really happy with the direction this team is going and with the job the team has done in preparing my cars. I am especially pleased with our Sponsor Services group. Everybody is out there working hard to grow our organization during a very tough time in the marketplace. Our folks take care of NAPA, UPS, Aaron’s, and Best Western. We have so many valued sponsors. Everyone at MWR understands the importance of taking care of our sponsors. And when I say that, it starts at the top. That’s my directive. We want to continue to treat our sponsors as partners. We also want to make sure we give them everything we can because of their confidence and commitment to Michael Waltrip Racing.
In closing, I am proud of our team and I am looking forward to a strong second half of the season. I appreciate and value everyone’s ongoing support. Thank you so much and I hope to see you at the track!