Hi Everyone —
Bristol was a huge weekend for us. Our qualifying streak continued. We’re five for five in getting all three of the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyotas in the race, and now, all three MWR Toyotas are guaranteed a starting spot at Martinsville. How awesome is that?
On Friday qualifying was rained out. I was glad to see that happen since our NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry was damaged earlier in the day during practice. We went to a back-up car and were not able to shake it down in practice since the weather set in.
Saturday, we were pretty much able to get in both practices. David Reutimann had a good practice finishing second in both sessions. My NAPA Toyota wasn’t as fast as David’s at the start of the run, but it was quicker than his on the longer runs. We kind of need to have both of those scenarios when setting up our Toyotas for Bristol so we had a meeting with all three Cup teams to make sure we were all on the same page. Obviously we’ll see some teams fast throughout an entire run. For some reason, our cars are one or the other. I think that is part of the learning process that our young team is going through. We have put together a very strong group of people who are building our cars, and I feel as if we have come a long way in a short period of time. Still, we have more work to do, be we are certainly off to a better start … we are making races, and running competitively.
Today was Dale Jarrett’s last points race in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career. MWR ran a special decal for DJ on the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry and the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry to salute him. I am very grateful for everything DJ has done not only for MWR, but for NASCAR. He has been an invaluable resource to my organization since we launched in 2007, and he will continue to be. Thanks DJ!
When it came to our race, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry was really good. Paul made a good call to leave us out during the third caution of the day to gain track position. It felt good to lead the race for you guys. The NAPA Toyota was in contention for a top-10 finish until we had two wheels left loose on the car. It set us back, but we were able to regroup and make it to the finish without a major problem on the track. It feels awesome to be locked in for Martinsville! I won’t know what to do with myself on Friday.
The NAPA team won’t be racing this weekend, but you can still watch David run in the Nationwide race. I’m taking a little vacation to Italy so I’ll catch up with you after I get back from Martinsville.