Hi Everyone —

 Traci is dictating this week’s blog as I am playing a golf scramble for Mr. Gary Player. He is raising money for a very worthy cause – childhood obesity. I’ve been here for the last two days playing golf in the Cliffs Communities by Greenville, S.C. Monday, I played with JoAnne Carner. She’s won 43 LPGA events and is a Hall of Fame member. I’m having a great deal of fun. Even Jack Nicholas is here to lend his support. It’s been a real privilege to be a part of this event. Before I give you the scoop on this past weekend at Kansas Speedway, I would like to talk about two men we lost this past weekend. Both contributed immensely to our sport. We lost Paul Newman and Dick Bahre to cancer. I always saw Paul Newman as such a strong character both on and off the track. He did so many wonderful things for so many people. On a more personal level, if I had to pick one guy who was the most important person to me when it came to being a race car driver at this level, it was Mr. Bahre. I am really saddened by his passing. My thoughts and prayers go out to both of their families. They will be missed.

Now on to racing — for MWR, our weekend got off to a disappointing start. Michael McDowell’s team missed the race. They were out of the top 35 by just eight points so they needed to make the race on speed. They showed some real solid runs at Richmond and Loudon. Unfortunately, they also came up short on a few and didn’t perform like they hoped at Dover. They left Dover being eight points out of the top 35. When it came to the team’s qualifying effort at Kansas, they ended up being six-thousands-of-a-second short from making Sunday’s show. Our sport is so competitive right now. It’s not just about what’s happening in The Chase. There’s a lot happening throughout the 43-car field. We’ve got drama!

Speaking of drama, MWR was battling in the top 20 for most of the race. Unfortunately, my NAPA AUTO PARTS team had a problem at the end that took us out of position for a good finish. I haven’t really seen the replay yet of what really happened to my NAPA Toyota. I was a little bit tight and was underneath Sam Hornish Jr. I think somebody behind me spun me out. Then we had a flat tire with a couple of laps to go and we lost a couple of laps pitting under green. We ended up 35th. It was so frustrating because when the race started, we lined up 29th. We raced all the way up to 15th place. We had a really solid car. With David, he got himself a lap down early. He battled back and made his lap up all on his own. He didn’t have to use the free “Lucky Dog” pass. He ended up with a top-20 finish. Despite the setback on the No. 00, and despite the fact the finishing order had the NAPA team in 35th, we had a really competitive and solid run with the No. 55 and No. 44 Toyota Camrys.

I am certainly looking forward to this weekend in Talladega. I believe the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry will be in the mix when they throw the white flag. That’s exactly where we were in April so I don’t expect it to be any different. It’s a real chance for us to post some special results on the scoring pylon.

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

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