Hi Everyone —
Indy was disappointing for a multitude of reasons. The most obvious was the tire problem. It was unfortunate. Hindsight is 20/20. More testing would have helped. I think they got fooled by the new car, somewhat. Last year, the tires wore a lot. As the race went on, the track rubbered-in with the old car. It didn’t do that with the new car. If you think about the new car, it has a higher CG (center of gravity). That means the right side tires just take more abuse. The car leans over in the corner and wears the right side tires. We didn’t see any problems with the left side tires. I think that is the reason why last year everything worked out. The old car shared the load amongst all four tires. This year, it used the right sides more and therefore, we had a problem.
I want to commend NASCAR, and really hope that the fans will line up behind me on this. You have to thank NASCAR. They managed and controlled the crisis as well as they possibly could. We ended up having a finish at the Brickyard that was one of the closest finishes ever. Carl Edwards had a real chance at beating Jimmie Johnson. When they started the race on Sunday, after watching practice and knowing all that was going on, I didn’t think anyone would get within a straightaway of Jimmie Johnson. He was that strong!
I hate that the NAPA team had problems on Sunday. The car started off loose. Sam Hornish Jr. pinched me a little more than I expected. It was my fault because I am responsible for taking care of my car. I should have taken him into consideration and not assumed that he would have given me the room I was expecting when making a pass. I spun. Every now and again, a driver should be able to spin out and not get penalized. I didn’t hit the wall. I had my NAPA Toyota under control. I thought we were going to be OK, and then Paul Menard ran over me.
I feel terrible that we lost one of our new gen-three cars. We had a really good practice on Saturday. We were 30th on the speed chart, but when you averaged all of the times, which is what the teams like to analyze, we ended up being 18th-fastest overall. I believe we could have improved on the car and I think we did improve on the NAPA Toyota. We should have had a competitive run. It was my fault for messing that up, so I will suck it up and learn from it. I hate that it happened, but I feel like we have taken another step forward at Michael Waltrip Racing with our new car. We will continue to get better.
I am really looking forward to this weekend. Last night I took Macy to the Jonas Brothers concert. Today, I am going up to Kingsport, Ontario, Canada for a NAPA appearance from 3 to 5 p.m. We are going up to the NAPA AUTO PARTS store to sign autographs and help promote the Nationwide race that is happening in Montreal, Canada on Saturday afternoon. The race is the NAPA AUTO PARTS 200. We are excited to have David Reutimann sporting the NAPA colors. He’s in the No. 99 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, but it looks a little different since the words are in French. Last year the race was interesting with Robby Gordon and Marcos Ambrose. Hopefully, we can add Reutimann into that mix this year and have it be an all NAPA race weekend.
Enjoy this weekend’s races! I sure will.