Dover

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Hi Everyone –

Before I start this week’s blog I would like to wish my beautiful daughter Macy a Happy Birthday! She turns 12 today.

I also want to congratulate Ryan Truex and his No. 00 NAPA AUTO PARTS team for winning the 2009 NASCAR Camping World East Series championship at Dover on Friday. It was nerve wracking watching him race. I am proud of the kid as he did exactly what he needed to do to win MWR its first NASCAR championship. Big brother Martin was there as well and we had a nice celebration on Friday night. Now it’s Martin’s turn to win NAPA and MWR another championship!

Speaking of Martin, Ty Norris and I flew to New Jersey last Tuesday to play in Martin’s golf tournament. We had a great time and I enjoyed being an auctioneer at his auction. Larry McReynolds, Hermie Sadler and Bob Dilner also joined me at the podium to help Martin out. It was all to benefit his Foundation. It’s a great cause that helps kids so I appreciate him allowing us to join him.

Right now, I am currently testing with the No. 55 team at the Little Rock in Rockingham, N.C. We went there earlier this season and decided to come back. We are running some laps to prepare for Martinsville. It’s a nice fall day so we are all enjoying ourselves.

As for the Dover race weekend with the NAPA AUTO PARTS team, I have mixed feelings. I didn’t like the way my car handled on Friday and when it came to qualifying, it didn’t resemble the car we had in practice. It was so loose. It never seemed like we could make significant progress in getting it to handle right. Saturday was more of the same. Sunday, we were fast, but it was still a handful to drive. We avoided the big wreck with Joey Logano, but it wasn’t long until our day was done. I blew a right front tire when I drove off into Turn 1. If I had done that 15 years ago, it could have been career ending. A man by the name of Larry Pollard crashed at Dover and it ended his career. Joe Nemechek broke his shoulder and was out for a couple of weeks. I want to thank Dr. Melvin, Dean Sickling, NASCAR, Tony George – all those men went in and worked together to develop and make the safer barrier a reality. I appreciate it!

We saw a pretty spectacular crash on Sunday. Joey Logano barrel rolled over seven times. It shook the kid up a bit. Tony Stewart was genuinely sorry for what happened, but as we looked at it, Bobby Labonte pulled down and that sort of started the chain-reaction crash. Bobby did have a lane to himself, but he chose to go to the bottom. His move did result in a crash, but it is hard to blame a guy for just taking a lane that was there. It was just circumstances that led to the terrible looking crash. Joey said he had been on roller coasters and none of them were as crazy as the ride he took at Dover. Ty came over the radio when I was setting on the backstretch during the red flag to say that Joey’s crash would definitely make the highlight reel. Home Depot was in for some serious TV time. Ty was right. It’s been played a lot on ESPN Sportscenter.

In case you didn’t see the Truck race, you missed a good one. I didn’t go to Las Vegas for SPEED, but I followed what was going on. As soon as the green flag flew in the first practice, you could tell Johnny Sauter was going to be tough to beat. Phil Parsons and Rick Allen, who called the shots out there for SPEED, called me and said that Sauter was ‘the man.’ They were right. He drove straight to the front. It was good to see him get his first win and it was the team’s first one-two finish. That was a good accomplishment for the ThorSport Racing organization.

Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson for his win at Dover. He won there in the old-style car as well as the new car so that’s impressive. His accomplishment there can be attributed to a true team effort. Hendrick Motorsports is the pinnacle of race teams. They are the team that everyone has to beat. Three of their four cars are up front every week. At Loudon, all four cars were up front. As a team owner, I strive to get my cars to look like Mr. Hendrick’s cars. The way Jimmie’s car looked at Dover is exactly the way we strive to get our cars. I thought it was a fun show to watch. I just wish I would have been able to run the whole deal.

I’ve got to go now as it is time to climb back into my NAPA Toyota. We’ve got Kansas Speedway this weekend and I sure hope we can get the ball rolling in the right direction. It’s been a tough couple of weeks, but we are not giving up. It’s all about getting Martin as many points as possible for next season and it sure would be awesome to get a win for NAPA before I turn the wheel over to him.

As always, I greatly appreciate your support.

Bye for Now,

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