Richmond International Raceway

Hi Everyone –

I want to thank everybody who sent me Happy Birthday messages. I appreciated it. I had a really nice day on my birthday. I played golf and then my NAPA team had a little get together and dinner for me outside my bus at the track. My brother Darrell was there and even Kenny Wallace stopped by to say hello. Kenny gave me a crisp 10-dollar bill for my birthday. We had a lot of good food to eat thanks to my coach driver Benito. My team even surprised me with my favorite chocolate cake with chocolate icing. We ended the evening watching my debut on “My Name is Earl”. We had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it.

With this being my 25th season in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing, I always got up in the morning and thought I was going to get to race my car because I was a great driver. Watching Reutimann haul the mail in the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine and seeing what Marcos Ambrose is doing by being up front almost every week has been a little bit hard on me as a driver. As an owner, I am very happy. But as a driver, I think I have lost a little bit of my confidence. I know it’s going to get better and the finishes I am expecting are just around the corner. At Talladega, we could have put that car up front. It didn’t work out. We got messed up in a wreck with just eight laps to go. Ty Norris, Cal Wells and Steve Hallam are all doing a great job running our organization, but I’m not happy with the job I am doing behind the wheel. It’s time I have a talk with the driver.

At Richmond, I was really happy about the performance and progression of the NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads Toyota. We started in the back in 30th position. We got a lap down, but we were able to make it up. The way the car drove and the kind of speed it had, I felt like we could run with them. We improved our car all night long, but at the end when it came time to get with it, I was too loose. We finished 24th.

We had our competition meeting on Monday and we discussed what Marcos’ car did. He did a great job finishing 11th place after getting crashed. He was able to persevere. David Reutimann had a top-10 run going until he was crashed. His car was really damaged after his crash to the point that he lost a lap there at the end. We all talked about our cars and I have to say, I like where we are right now as a team. Our meetings are productive. We learn from each other and it’s great to see how we are continuing to move forward in the right direction.

Looking back, I have seen a lot of people come and go in NASCAR. But I don’t think I have ever seen the enthusiasm or the desire to run every lap like Kyle Busch does. It was no surprise that he completed the Richmond sweep by winning both the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races. He runs every lap like it is the last lap. He will not settle for following someone no matter what. He is genuinely special. So, when you are watching a NASCAR race — whether you like him or not — enjoy what you are watching. Watching him makes me want to try even harder.

My NAPA car will once again have NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads on it. My NAPA car rarely changes so putting the Adaptive One paint scheme on it for two weeks in a row tells you how special this product is.

Before I go, I would like to tell every Mom out there – Happy Mother’s Day!

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