Hi Everyone —
I cannot tell you how happy I am about the start to our season. We are three for three in qualifying for all three of my cars. Fridays are so nerve wracking. It is excruciating for me and my crew. It doesn’t matter how well we practice because anything can happen during the two laps in qualifying. In Las Vegas, I ran a 30.446-second lap in practice, and it was good for 15th position. There were 10 more positions behind me that ran in the 30.40s as well. It was so close out there.
If anyone got to watch SPEED on Friday, they could certainly see by the look on my face that I was incredibly nervous before qualifying. I was so nervous that reporter Bob Dillner gave me hug. A few minutes later, I was back on SPEED with a much prettier reporter in Krista Voda. I asked if she would follow suit and give me another hug for luck. I found out she’s not a hugger, but she was willing to help out our cause. I really appreciated it. The hugs helped. All three of my cars picked up speed to comfortably make it into the Las Vegas 400. I am so proud of my team. There were a lot of smiles when I got out of my NAPA AUTO PARTS Camry. A year ago, it was quite the opposite. It just means the world to me to see Dale Jarrett smiling. I told him: ‘We just needed to get off to a start like this a year ago and maybe we could have made it a lot more fun for everybody.’ It’s a real proud group of men and women that are here with me at the track. We all just dig in. I feel like my success hinges on all three cars, not just me driving, but Dale Jarrett driving, and David Reutimann driving. It’s a lot to think about.
Today’s race was a tough one all around for Michael Waltrip Racing. Reutimann hit the wall on the first lap to finish 37th. DJ was running really well, but crashed with about 50 laps to go to finish 39th. The NAPA team also struggled. My car was so loose that all I could do was hang on and hope for the best. It was tough out there, and it was evident since 11 caution flags were thrown.
Good news is we are testing this week in Phoenix and next week in Kentucky, so hopefully we will get a better handle on these new cars. They are tricky to set up. Overall, our weekend was not a total wash. We all earned valuable points. The NAPA team as well as my other two teams remain in the top 35 in points. Just two more races to go before NASCAR reverts to the current points standings. I sure hope the next two races go well because I will be so happy to have all three of my cars locked into the top 35. I will be able to get in my NAPA Camry and just drive. That’s the best times … just get in the car and drive.
Can’t wait to see everyone this weekend in Atlanta! Talk to you soon!