Last Week

Hi Everyone –

I had a really fun time at the Michael Waltrip Racing Sponsor Summit last week. We had it at the Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia. I got to spend good quality time with a lot of our sponsors. What was great about it was we got to spend time in both a business and social setting. I think all of the attendees were pleased with everything they saw and heard.

I am really happy with the job Chris Marciani and all of the folks in our sales and marketing department were able to accomplish. I knew they were working hard on it and then to see the actual program that they set up and the direction they went with – the speakers and engaging our sponsors with information we felt can help us all in this world – was very impressive and rewarding to experience. I was also impressed with the attendees who wanted to be a part of our program. Mr. Gallagher from GPC, Paul Donahue, Mike Rearden and Gaylord Spencer from NAPA were all on hand. Mr. Butler and his folks from Aaron’s, Ed Laukes of Toyota and Best Western also played a huge part in the success. Mike Helton from NASCAR was also in attendance. My partner Rob Kauffman even came over from England.

I think everyone left our event feeling like it was worth their time to be there. Across the board, the comments were positive. The thing I am most excited about is the follow up with future meetings and discussions. Those meetings are going to generate even more interaction between us and our sponsors that will be beneficial for everyone.

When I started my team, I really wanted it to be a partnership between the race team, fans and of course, the sponsors. I think my goal has been accomplished. Folks are integrated into our program whether it is the sponsors who get to sponsor our car or the fans that get to come to Raceworld or the track. It is totally working and I am pleased with all that.

Fast forward to Saturday … we had a good qualifying run. We started 19th. We had a bit of a struggle in practice. We could never get the car to do what I wanted it to do. Atlanta is one of those tracks I generally love to race on. I have a really good feel for what I need and what the car needs to feel like in order for me to be competitive. We never could get it. I was optimistic that we could go over all of the teams’ notes and pull from it so that we could put a set up under me that was competitive. It just did not come to be for some reason. It wasn’t even close to what we were hoping. I slid around a lot and felt fortunate that we didn’t run into anything. The back end just would not stick to the road. We made it to the finish line, but that’s about all we did. It made for a very long night. We are getting ready now to meet and talk about what we did, what we might have done wrong, what we could have done differently and then make sure we are better when we head to the next big track like Kansas City or Texas.

Despite this past weekend, I am still very optimistic. I enjoyed working with Gene Nead and look forward to the rest of the season. I loved the way he worked on my car and how he is so passionate about racing. I feel like we can enjoy some success for the remainder of the year. I feel like we have some good races ahead of us. I look forward to racing my last 11 races in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota.

Bye for Now,

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