NHMS 2

Hi everyone—
One of the coolest things I got to do last week was race against my buddy Ron Capps at the zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C. I know a lot has been said about our race as it was all over the radio the next day in Charlotte and the satellite radio networks. We also had a cool feature on ESPN 2’s “NASCAR Now” show and we made it on the NHRA broadcast on Saturday. All I can say is this — my NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry is trained to turn left. It wants to turn left and that’s where I ended up. I should have gotten in the left lane because I was going down the right side. Generally when the speed gets up to 150 to 160 mph for a little stretch, there is a turn so my NAPA Camry tried to turn. I tried to put her back in line, but it was not meant to be. The good thing about all of it is I did make it through the lights at 100 mph and ran an 11-second time backwards. It was so much fun. I love racing. I love drag racing. I love my buddy Capps. I loved what we did over there. One thing I learned about my experience at the drag strip is they put glue on the track. They glue it down. When they got done putting the glue down, my shoes made sticky sounds when I walked on the track. When Capps and I raced, there was no glue on the track. I matted the gas and my NAPA Camry obviously didn’t stick. The way I see it, I am an amateur at drag racing. I didn’t know anything about the rules. I just hammered it. I ended up spinning out. That’s when they brought out the glue truck. I thought to myself, that’s not fair! Why didn’t I get to have it? All joking aside, it was a wonderful experience and I am so glad that I could have been a part of it. Bruton Smith (track owner) has himself a beautiful facility. I really think it is cool that drag racing was welcomed with open arms to NASCAR country. It was a sold out crowd for all three days and I wished I could have been there. Congrats to Capps as he moved up in the championship points standings. The NAPA Sprint Cup team is really pulling for him.

On Sunday at Loudon, my car was really, really good. We had a crappy day on Saturday during the practices. I couldn’t get my NAPA Camry to drive remotely like it had only a month ago at Loudon. It didn’t even react like it did the previous weekend at Richmond. It just wouldn’t do anything right. I really want to tip my NAPA cap to my crew chief Bobby Kennedy and the boys. They changed the car around in preparations for Sunday’s race. We started 32nd which was where we were in points because qualifying was cancelled due to rain. We drove up into the top 20. When we made our first pit stop, we took only two tires. It helped us get into the mid-to-low teens in track position. We were not only able to hold on to the position but actually, improve it. After that, our day went to pieces. We came into the pits running in the teens for our second stop, but ended up going out in the 30s. Our green-flag pit stop did not go as planned. We also had a chance to get two tires but instead, we chose to take four tires. Things just did not work out for us on Sunday like it should have. It’s a shame. We had a good car and we were more than capable of bringing home a top-10 finish so scoring 25th was somewhat of a disappointment. Nevertheless, all three MWR cars are locked into the top 35 and we are capable of running up front. David Reutimann certainly has the best team right now. His group has gelled. They are finishing each others sentences so-to-speak. The NAPA team just keeps working hard and we have a great base to work from. We are getting close so we will keep working to improve upon things.

Dover is up next in The Chase. I loved how Greg Biffle established himself last weekend with the win at Loudon. No one really saw that coming. If you went by the practices, Clint Bowyer was a shoe-in for the win, especially since he won at Loudon last year. We didn’t really hear much from him. Biffle made The Chase. He locked himself in. He’s always seems as if he is on the edge of winning. Now all of a sudden, he is the talk of the town. Way to go Biff!

If you are paying any attention to the Internet, you are probably seeing the rumors about MWR merging with another team. That’s certainly refreshing because a couple of months back, there were rumors that my organization was closing. Got to love rumors, right? I think the best way to explain what is happening in our garage area is to examine the economy. There is going to be a lot of moving parts and pieces behind the scenes in the garage area. All of the merger talks are about the owners, such as myself, making sure that we are fiscally responsible. It’s our job to make sure our cars and the teams are as solid as possible. It’s all about racing in 2009 and beyond so there you have it.

Stay tuned and I’ll talk to you next week!

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