Hi Everyone –
Michael Waltrip Racing had a pretty good weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway. David Reutimann and his No. 00 team got the pole for Sunday’s Samsung 500. His car was fast from the time they unloaded and they kept up the pace all the way through the race. Reutimann and his crew chief Rodney Childers put a really good package together. To go out and be the best on any given day, especially at a place like Texas where there is a lot of stuff going on, carries a lot of prestige. I am proud of them for the success they had down there and winning pole in the Aaron’s Dream Machine was a big deal for David and my entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization.
The JTG-Daugherty Racing team that we have an alliance with had a top-10 going despite having some mechanical issues. They eventually had an engine problem that put an end to their day, but despite that, everyone has to be impressed with Marcos Ambrose. He is a guy that showed up and now he is doing it! He is running in the top five and top 10 at many of these races – whether it is a short track like Bristol Motor Speedway or a fast, intermediate track like Texas Motor Speedway – he is running well. It is great for Tad and Jodi Geschickter. They’ve had their heart and soul in the NASCAR Series for 10 to 15 years now. To have the success they have had so far this season is a great story to tell.
As for my weekend, I was optimistic. I felt like we had a lot of potential. It just seemed like right at the wrong time in the race; our NAPA car wasn’t running right. We started in 34th and stayed on the lead lap forever. Then we got lapped along with the very next guy in front of us – AJ Allmendinger. The caution came out and AJ was able to capitalize by getting the free pass. Late in the going, we made an adjustment that really didn’t work for the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. It cost us another lap. At the end, Bootie got the car dialed back in and I was happy. It was fast again.
In any race, there are segments and you can sometimes fall off the pace like Jimmie Johnson did and get away with it especially if the cautions fly right. But there are other times in the race where you better be dead on or you’ll get so far behind that you won’t ever be able to make it up. That scenario happened to us and it’s a shame for the NAPA team.
For those of you who had the chance to watch the Cup race, you saw a good show. There were a lot of changes and turns that led to the outcome. We saw Jimmie Johnson and his team struggle early and then they rallied back to finish in second place. It looked like late in the going that Carl Edwards was going to make it three in a row but had a problem in the pits. That’s what I love about Texas. There always seems to be some type of drama there. Last fall it was the fuel mileage race. You just never know how Texas is going to play out until the very end.
This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off and I am proud of my entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization and the folks at JTG-Daugherty Racing. It has always been our goal to work our way into the four super teams – Hendrick, Roush, Gibbs and Childress. They are the main stays in The Chase. We have wanted to wedge one or two of our cars up in the middle of them. Right now, our No. 00 team has been able to get up in the top 12 and put some of those other teams behind them. My NAPA team is 21st in points and just 114 markers out of the top 12. Marcos is not too far behind as well. In my opinion, I feel like our entire organization has made the type of progress that we needed to make and I hope we are making NAPA proud.
Speaking of proud – I am happy for Ron Capps! He’s three for five in the win column. I plan to add one in mine so be ready!
If you want to catch some racing this weekend, look for me and my No. 99 Nationwide Series team. We’re heading to Nashville Superspeedway. The race will be televised on Saturday starting at 3 p.m. on ESPN.
Have a Happy Easter!