Hi Everyone –
When we unloaded our NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry at Martinsville, I ran the first few laps and I thought, ‘Man, this is cool.’ My car felt like it needed to. That’s exactly what my team needs to do week in and week out. We need to build good cars and be prepared. If we continue to do that, the results will come. My other two teammates were able to make qualifying runs and got up into the top 10 on Friday’s practice sheet. The NAPA team never made a qualifying run. We just worked on our race set up. We were pretty confident that we would be very competitive on Sunday and indeed, we were. I loved driving that car.
During the race, we saw a great battle between Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. Jimmie did an amazing job. He tried to stay off of Denny and he lost his car. That’s OK. Then he hit the curb. That made his chances of passing Denny even more complicated. Then he hit Denny and he was still able to keep up enough momentum to drive off the corner. More importantly, Jimmie was able to get enough of a lead to stay in front of Denny so that Denny could not go to the next corner and run him over. You could tell Jimmie tried not to hit Denny. It all worked out. I bet Tony Stewart was grinning coming off of Turn 3 when he saw what was happening in front of him. It could have opened the door for him to get the win at Martinsville. What you always have to keep in mind is if you are going to hit somebody at Martinsville, you better make sure you can get away from him or at least get away from him for some time so that they can calm down a little bit. They might be a little kinder to you in three or four laps versus in Turn 1 just after the contact was made. If Denny could have caught up to Jimmy, it’s hard to tell what the outcome would have been. Regardless, what we saw was an amazing amount of car control from both of those competitors.
Another thing that I saw at Martinsville is just how challenging NASCAR can be. If you think about it, Brian Vickers drove a good race. He was in the top 10 for most of the day until his car developed an oil leak. He ended up finishing 33rd. Not too long ago, you could break inside the last 20 or 30 laps and still recover with a top-20 finish. Now that doesn’t seem to be the case. What happened to Brian Vickers happens to all of us from time to time and it’s a terrible feeling.
On Monday, I went back up to Martinsville and did the Truck race on SPEED. It was awesome. It was a great battle between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. They did the same thing in Atlanta. Kyle Busch came out on top. This time in Martinsville, it was Harvick that took the win. I just love working the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series broadcast because I love talking about racing.
This weekend we head to Texas Motor Speedway. The fun thing about that track is it is hard to drive. It’s fun. It’s fast. The fans are great too. When you go to Texas Motor Speedway for that race, the fans start showing up at the start of the week. The drivers and teams feed off that enthusiasm and excitement. I really enjoy being down in Texas and I hope to bring home a top-10 finish for the NAPA team.