2011 Daytona 500

February 22nd, 2011

Hello Everyone –

Daytona Speedweeks are finally over. We definitely deserved better than a 19th-place finish on Sunday, but that’s the way it goes. You win some, you lose some. We had a good day with our NAPA Toyota until the final 20 laps or so. We got turned around sideways and it forced me down pit road. It cost us the lead draft. It appeared the caution saved us, but then we got tangled up in a wreck. I think what happened was I drove off of Turn 2 and ran right up against the wall. I am not totally sure what caused the chain of events, but my old buddy Ryan Newman came up and just slammed me into the fence. He told me after the race that it got four or five wide and I was just the guy caught up on the right side. Everybody tried to come up and I was sitting there as far up as I could go. They just ran out of room. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. This kind of situation happens all the time in restrictor-plate racing. You run hard all day and you never know what the outcome is going to be.

We ran the first part of our race rather conservatively and it kept us out of the wrecks. We took care of our stuff. When it was time to go, I was able to hook up with a couple of good cars. We led some laps. I am proud of my NAPA AUTO PARTS team and the car they were able to give me. It was definitely capable of finishing up front. It just didn’t work out in the end so we left Daytona 18th in points and we’re not in as big of a hole as some people. In my opinion, the real race starts this weekend in Phoenix. We put a lot of preparation into our short-track program during the off-season with testing, so Sunday will be a good gauge to see where we actually stack up. It’s been a good track for me over the years. We had a pretty decent run last fall so I think we’ll be even better on Sunday.

This week I am pretty busy. Monday I had several competition meetings to attend. MWR works hard to do everything we can to be the best. Everyone is committed and I really feel like this is going to be a good year. I also completed several P.R. requests including calling into my weekly segment on Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody and Angie Skinner. Tuesday afternoon I head to Atlanta to attend a big store owner’s meeting with the folks at NAPA. Then Thursday I head to Phoenix.

Before I go, I hope everyone saw the new NAPA commercial that Michael and I did together. It got a lot of play during Speedweeks. Both the media and the fans came up to me and commented on how much they like the new commercial. I’m getting better at lip synching and if it helps sell parts, then that’s all that really matters. Thank you for your continued support.

2011

January 10th, 2011

Hello Everyone –

I hope you had a great holiday. Mine was pretty quiet which was good since the NAPA team is back at it this week and going full throttle.

The start of my week consisted of pit practice with the NAPA Know How crew at the 5 Off 5 On facility located down the street from my shop in Mooresville. It was really important for us to get together. For me, I enjoy getting back together with my guys since it’s been over a month since we’ve really spent any time together. It also helps to get the feel of what they are doing and to listen to the air guns to develop a rhythm so I have a good idea of when they are going to drop the jack.

Another important reason we’re all practicing together is we no longer have a catch can man. Both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series are using the same refueling system used in the Camping World Truck Series. We’re now using self-venting dump cans which eliminate the need for a catch can man. It’s a good idea since he’s the most exposed crew member on pit road since his back is always facing oncoming traffic.

This new change really impacts the pit crew because our tire guys seem to get done a lot faster now than the gas man. We’re waiting on gas so it’s going to change race strategy a bunch. I expect to see more short pitting so we won’t have to fill the car up with gas at the end of the race to maintain or get even better track position.

I’m currently down in Georgia with Pat, David and all of our key competition personnel participating in the MWR Chase Summit. We’ve gotten together to flush out our strategies for the upcoming season and as you can tell by the summit’s name; our focus is all about qualifying for the Chase.

I’m extremely excited about what we have going on with the NAPA team. A lot of positives came out of our first season together. We made a few little changes to our team in regards to communication during practice and how to work on the car. We implemented them at Phoenix last year and I’ve seen a lot of positives as a result of the changes. Our car showed a ton of speed at Phoenix and Homestead.

When it comes to goals, they haven’t changed much from last year. We want to make the Chase. We want to win races. Those two things will never change. But this year, I really have higher expectations and the pressure is on. We are working very hard. We have a great team. It’s just a matter of us putting all the pieces together and making the right decisions. There is no doubt in my mind that we have the capability to win races. It’s a matter of putting it all together and avoiding bad luck. I know we can do it.

Before I sign off, I want to thank you guys. It’s an honor to represent NAPA AUTO PARTS. You have embraced me and treat me like family. It feels as if I’ve been a part of your team for 20 years. Now I know why Michael has been with you for so long. It’s a great relationship, so thanks again for the opportunity to represent your company. We’re going to have a lot of fun this year. Let’s get ready for a fun ride!

Homestead

November 23rd, 2010

Hi Everyone,

The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season has come to a close and we have a champion. Jimmie Johnson completed the drive for five by winning his fifth-straight NASCAR Sprint Cup. That’s an accomplishment that will be tough to beat. He is certainly going to go down as one of the best, if not the best, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver ever. Congratulations to Rick Hendrick and his entire organization.

As for our race, we had the winning car. There is no doubt in my mind. For close to 200 laps, I was having an incredible time and told my crew that I wished they knew just how much fun I was having out there. The race was ours if only we could have avoided the cut down right rear tire. We showed what we are capable of doing. It’s nice but it also stinks because we couldn’t take advantage of it. I have been proud of these NAPA Know How guys all year long. We’ve got some stuff to work on, but we know what we need to work on so I expect to come out of the box strong in 2011.

I have to say, I have enjoyed my first season as driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. I’ve never been this busy before and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I starred in my first NAPA commercial. I never expected that one commercial to have the impact that it did. I only wish I had a dollar for every time a fan asked me to sing the NAPA Know How jingle.

It was a privilege to bring more than 2,400 people along for my ride at Texas Motor Speedway. I was familiar with NAPA’s efforts to help raise money and awareness for Susan G. Komen All Out for the Cure, but it was great to see firsthand what could be accomplished in a little over three weeks. I enjoyed promoting our message by doing radio commercials, Facebook videos, interviews and television appearances. I’ve never been a big fan of the color pink, but I am now. It means a lot to so many people who have been touched or affected some way by breast cancer.

As for the NAPA AUTO PARTS team on the track, we learned a lot this year. At the midway point, I felt really good about our group as a whole. We were 12th in points and that was impressive especially considering we were a new team. And to be honest, I wasn’t expecting us to be quite that good that soon. So I really had high hopes heading into the second half of the season with us going back to tracks for the second time this season and understanding more about the cars that Michael Waltrip Racing builds. Unfortunately, we went the wrong way on the performance charts. We went downhill. We had a stretch of about three or four weeks where we had rotten luck. Once that went away, our performance wasn’t quite there.

Over the last month, month and a half, we’ve been doing a lot of experimenting in getting ready for 2011. We’re picking apart certain parts of the car and figuring out what is it that we are lacking. It’s important for us to find out what we need to work on during the winter and understanding it better. We’ve been going through a bunch of scenarios over the last few weeks and trying out a bunch of different packages. We’ve found some gains and we’ve found some places where we definitely need to work. All you can do is make your best educated guess and on the things you need improvement on and go to work on it. That’s what we’re going to do.

I think we have a very good idea of the direction we need to take. We will do our best to get it all sorted out and fixed by the time we go back to Daytona, but in reality, you never are 100 percent certain that you have all the solutions until you get to the track and put them into play.

We have an incredibly talented group of people on this NAPA AUTO PARTS race team as well as everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing that contributes to our team. I’m confident that we are all on the right track and I’m looking forward to climbing back into our NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota and representing NAPA the best way I
can both on and off the racetrack.

Phoenix International Speedway

November 16th, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Phoenix International Raceway produced a mixed bag of results for me. For the fifth time this season, I drove in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event. I really enjoy doing it and I think it helps with our Cup program too. The Toyota I ran had a Travis Pastrana paint scheme to promote the new partnership Michael Waltrip Racing and Gary and Blake Bechtel announced with Pastrana last Thursday. He’s an icon in the action sports industry, so to have him form a team with us is a win-win situation for all of us and NASCAR. He’s scheduled to run seven races next year so I look forward to working with him and wish him the best.

When I’ve driven in the Nationwide Series this year, the Diamond-Waltrip team has given me a top-five car. With that said, I definitely felt good about my chances. Our car started out pretty strong, but after the first green-flag run, the handling really went away. Not long after the halfway mark, I went into Turn 1 and had to pump the brakes. My car spun out and backed into the Turn 1 wall. It was a hard hit and we were done for the day. As a driver, I’d like to expect all the races to go perfectly, but in reality, it doesn’t always work out that way.

On the Sprint Cup side, it went better. We had a good NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. We qualified 11th and I was happy about the effort since we went out really early. Then during the race, we had a top-10 run going until we had a cut tire. We had to pit an extra time during the caution so it put us at the rear of the field on what would be the final restart. I wasn’t surprised to see the race go green at the end. Phoenix has a tendency to go green for long periods of time. It has gotten harder to pass over the last couple of races since the bottom groove seems to be head and shoulders better than the second groove. I’m not sure why that is but everyone prefers the bottom groove. In the end, the field spread out and it was tough to regain the track position we had lost. We ended up 15th. I thought we were going to end up better than that, but considering the bad luck we’ve been having, I’ll take a top-15.

I heard an interesting rumor on Monday when I got back. There is talk that Phoenix might get repaved and reconfigured. I am kind of on the fence about it. Phoenix is a great race track in my opinion. The surface is definitely worn out and has been patched up in some spots. But I like the worn out asphalt. I also like the unique layout of the place. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I’m sure they’re putting a lot of thought in deciding if changes are needed. I’m for whatever they decide. It’s a cool place.

Before I go, I want to congratulate NAPA and the Bill McAnally Racing team with driver Eric Holmes. They won the K&N Pro Series West championship on Saturday night. That’s pretty neat especially since my brother won the K&N Pro Series East title a few months ago. It’s safe to say a NAPA-sponsored car dominated those two divisions this season.

Now, it’s off to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of 2010. There are three drivers who have a legitimate shot at winning the title. It should be fun for you guys to watch. I know I am looking forward to ending our first season together with a strong run!

Texas 2

November 11th, 2010

Hi Everyone,

I just got done having lunch with Bob Susor and John Hannigan at the National NAPA AutoCare Council Meeting at Michael Waltrip Racing. I enjoyed meeting all of the AutoCare shop owners who were on hand to participate. They asked me all kinds of questions and they wanted to know about the fight that broke out at Texas between Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton. Tempers definitely flare out on the track and I’m happy to say, I’ve never been called to the NASCAR Trailer. I pretty much saw it unfold as most fans did by watching it on a television. I was in the garage as the NAPA Know How crew tried to repair our car. What a disappointing day for us and to be honest, I was happy to leave Texas. You have days like that, but it still doesn’t make it any easy to accept. We were on mark for at least a top 15 and then problems started. At first, I thought we were going to be OK, but after I cut a second tire down, it ended our chances.

I cannot tell you how disappointed I am over what happened at Texas because we were running the NAPA Signature Toyota paint scheme. I wanted to turn in a great run as a way of thanking everyone who participated in the project. We ended up having over 2,400 names on it. Several people who made donations as well as others whose names were actually on the car came to see it over the weekend. The car made a big impact not only on me, but my entire NAPA AUTO PARTS team. One breast cancer survivor introduced herself to my crew as they pushed the car out to qualifying. She was so happy to see it and then looked for her name. She found it and wanted her picture taken with my crew by the car. On Sunday, a man introduced himself to our shock specialist Luke Cunnington. He told us how the car meant a lot to him as his wife’s name was also on the car. Unfortunately, she lost her battle with breast cancer three weeks ago.

The person who described our NAPA Signature Toyota the best was my Honorary Pit Crew Member Marcia Dluhy. She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2007 and after 12 surgeries and lots of chemo and radiation treatments, she is in remission. She took one look at the car and said, “That car has a lot of power.”

What she said has stuck with me. After our month-long campaign raising funds and awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, I cannot be more proud to be associated with a sponsor like NAPA AUTO PARTS. It was nice to see all of our hard work end with a $250,000 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We presented the check to the breast cancer awareness group on Sunday morning during SPEED’s Race Day broadcast. If you missed it, you can watch it here: http://tiny.cc/ox853.

I’m off to Phoenix. I’ll be pulling double duty again. I hope to have two strong performances to talk to you about next week.

Talladega

November 4th, 2010

Hi Everyone,

How about that race at Talladega on Sunday? For a split second, I thought we had the race won! Regardless, it’s nice to finally finish a race off with a result that reflected how good our NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota ran all day. We had a big push there at the end and had a chance at the win. So, Talladega wasn’t a win for us, but I am OK with sixth place.

The NAPA Know How crew built a new car for this race after we destroyed our superspeedway car at Daytona. The new car was even better. Toyota brought an engine for us with even more horsepower. Overall, I was very happy with all of the improvements. As you saw, we were competitive all day. We ran up front and even led some laps.

Racing was really interesting. Two cars running back-to-back were faster than a long line of cars. I’m not sure why or how it happens. It’s rather crazy to see two guys pull out in 20th position and pass everybody that is in line. I guess it has something to do with the splitter and the way the nose is on the car. I may not understand it, but it makes for a lot of fun.

My NAPA Toyota was a strong car that could push in a two-car draft. I worked well with a lot of guys, but what was strange, I couldn’t push my teammates very well. And if anyone got on my bumper, I was able to go fast, regardless of who it was. Joey Logano was a huge help to me. He pushed us all the way to the front. We caught up to the leaders – David (Reutimann), Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Juan Pablo Montoya. We had the push to win it, but the hole closed up at the end. I have to thank Joey for the push. Obviously at the end, I was happy to be in one of those two-car drafts. It almost paid off. It was a good ending to a fun day. There is no rhyme or reason to the final laps at Talladega. We were fortunate that everything worked out.

It’s nice to have some momentum heading into this weekend’s race at Texas. It’s a big weekend for us. We’re bringing the NAPA Signature Toyota to raise even more awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The NAPA Know How Facebook promotion raised $51,000. We have over 2,400 names on the car so that is really neat and something I am very proud of. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The car is literally a show stopper because everyone on the shop floor at Michael Waltrip Racing stops and looks at it. I can only imagine what will happen once it rolls off the NAPA hauler in Texas. Fans, especially those affected some way by breast cancer, will appreciate the car. I know I am very proud of it. It’s probably the most meaningful paint scheme I have ever raced and I hope to make everyone proud when it goes around that race track.

We also sold out of all the NAPA All Out for the Cure hats. I want to thank all the fans who submitted names for the car and those fans that made a trip to their NAPA AUTO PARTS stores, AutoCare Centers and Michael Waltrip Racing to buy hats. All of the effort to help us is very much appreciated and on Sunday, NAPA will hand over a $250,000 check to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We’ll be doing it during the 9:30 a.m. NASCAR Race Day on SPEED broadcast.

Here’s a little video from me: http://tiny.cc/cbwq5.

Fishing with Mike “Ike” Iaconelli

October 27th, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Last week I had the opportunity to meet Mike “Ike” Iaconelli who is also from New Jersey. He is the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion and the 2006 Bass Angler of the Year. He’s one of the best professional anglers out there and it was cool to do an appearance with him for Toyota. We actually swapped jobs so-to-speak. I took him for a spin around the Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) and then he took me fishing on Lake Norman. It was an experience I will not forget.

It’s always cool for us to switch things up a little. It’s fun to take people for rides around the track. The original plan was to put Ike in a two-seater NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, but the weather did not cooperate. It rained in the morning so I drove him around in the CMS Toyota Camry Hybrid. Believe it or not, I have never driven one of those Camrys before, and I was impressed! I enjoyed showing Mike how to get around the place because he hasn’t been around racing all that much. He was really interested in experiencing as much as he could from my perspective. It’s hard to show people the true experience and feeling we go through, but I think he understood a lot more than the average race fan because of being a pro angler.

I really enjoyed the experience because I love to fish and I knew who Mike was since he’s from my home state. It was awesome to go out with him on his boat with his fishing gear on Lake Norman. It’s a place I fish on a lot when I am home. I used the opportunity to learn as much as I could, and I watched how he approached the lake. It gave me some insight as to how he does things when he goes to a new lake and gets ready for a tournament.

Ike didn’t share his biggest secrets with me, but I did see how much work goes into fishing a lake professionally. It’s a lot of hard work. He fished fast and hard. That’s what pro anglers do. When he starting catching them, he really looked for all the little details and tried to break it all down. He wasn’t afraid to move on if he wasn’t catching anything. I learned that time management and making smart decisions are crucial in being a successful angler.

At the end of the day, I learned that his job is tough. It’s an extremely tough job with some of the same types of challenges as being a NASCAR driver. He goes to a lake for a tournament and it’s pretty much a week-long event. He participates in practices and then fishes the tournament for three days. It’s a much longer work week than our deal. Our practices and race are combined into two or three days.

I definitely saw similarities in our jobs during the swap. There are a lot of ups and downs in our professions. He talked about how sometimes he has a great day and then the next day he can do the exact same thing and have a totally different and devastating result. I see the same thing in NASCAR. We both have to stay focused on what we are trying to do and do the best job we can.

I am hoping Mike and I can get together again. I would love to have him come to Dover and I’m checking my schedule to see if I can go to one of his tournaments. Our day at the track and the lake was neat experience and I’m glad to have made a new friend from it all.

Before I go, I want to thank all of the NAPA Belden Sweepstakes winners who visited Michael Waltrip Racing last Tuesday night. It was nice to sit down and have dinner with them. They are extremely hard workers who enjoy the auto industry. They were really impressed with our race shop and how good our NAPA Know How pit crew is. The crew did a pit stop seminar and then had the winners try to jack up the NAPA Toyota and change a tire. There were some pretty big guys who had a hard time getting the car off the ground. We also had a good time the following day at the Charlotte Motor Speedway even though the weather didn’t totally cooperate.

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Charlotte 2

October 25th, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Last Friday night I was thinking there for awhile that this week’s blog might be about a NASCAR Nationwide Series victory. I tried really hard to get us the win. We came close. I had a lot of fun. Mike Greci and the entire team brought a really good car. It’s been since Talladega of 2006 that I went to victory lane in that series. I only raced six times in 2006 and the win came on the very first race of my schedule.

Friday night, it was my third race for Diamond-Waltrip Racing, but the first event driving the new Nationwide Series car. I like the new car. It drove really well and it seemed to drive better in dirty air than the Cup cars do so I think there are some things that NASCAR can look at. It’s the new generation of race car and it’s evident that it’s an improvement from the COT car that debuted for us three years ago. I hope some of the things on the Nationwide car can be applied to our Sprint Cup car down the road. I think it could make the racing even better than it already is in the Cup Series.

We started the race in fifth, but in the early stages, we had some problems with the front end of our car. We think something might have bent so it lost some height and started to hit the ground. We had to pit a few times under a caution to add rounds to the springs. We went back out and were the final car on the lead lap. The adjustments helped because I drove up to the front in just a few laps. That’s how good the car was. It was pretty cool.

I have to be honest. I have never been that disappointed to run second because our car was that good. The last set of tires got us a little bit too tight and I think that was the difference. I ran inside of Brad Keselowski for quite awhile and I just couldn’t clear him. I felt like if I could have gotten clear and gotten in the clean air, I would have been in really good shape. I just couldn’t quite get there. At one point, I had Brad off of Turn 4. He got on my bumper and pushed me a little bit. I thought I had it made there, but when he turned down on the inside of me, he somehow got a run. If I could have gotten to Turn 1 ahead of him, I think we would be talking about an entirely different ending to the race.

As for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the NAPA Know How crew gave me a really good car. We had a decent night and ran in the top 10 for about 95 percent of the race. It was nice to run from fifth to ninth place pretty much all night. The last caution of the race, we took two tires and the car just got way too tight. We ended up finishing 15th. It was disappointing, but our car had good speed all weekend long and we were close.

Our biggest challenge all weekend long was we were tight in the center of the corner. We never could get that worked out of our NAPA Toyota. I felt like if we could get it turning a little bit better, we would have really been in good shape. As it was, we were only a tenth or two off the leader and it seemed like whoever got out there in the lead, they were two tenths better than the rest of the frontrunners. We were right there. We just needed to close the gap. As I have said many times, we are making strides and are constantly working and learning. One of these days we are going to put it all together and get NAPA that much-deserved win.

October 18th, 2010

Hi Everyone,

I had a really good week and as I mentioned in my last blog, I went to Montana to go white-tailed deer hunting. It was a blast!

I left Kansas Speedway to do white-tailed deer hunting in Montana with the Realtree folks. A television crew followed us like my last hunt as it’s going to be a part of the same NASCAR hunting show. My best friend Adam Sherer went along. Adam is the same guy I went fishing with a few weeks ago off the coast of N.C. Anyway, on the first day we scoped out the area and saw a bunch of deer. We spotted an impressive 10-point buck so we all knew we were in for a good hunt.

During first two days of the hunt, we had several close encounters, but never had a good opportunity to shoot one. But on day three, that was an entirely different story. In the morning, Adam encountered a 10-point buck that would have scored in the 150” class, but he couldn’t take the shot because a limb was in the way. Fortunately for Adam, all was not lost.

Later in the afternoon, it was my turn. I smoked a nice deer. It was a 10 pointer in the 125” class. He was a young one – about three years old. Now, it was up to Adam to deliver. Adam spotted a really nice 10 pointer about five minutes before dark. It came right into his bow range on the right side. He drew and took a shot. The buck went 50 yards before piling up. He turned out to be bigger than the one Adam missed out on earlier in the morning. This buck was in the 162” class. He was massive.

I absolutely love hunting and it’s the way I like to relax and get focused. Obviously when I walked off the plane to go to my NAPA appearance in Staunton, Illinois, I was pretty stoked. Most of the fans there knew I had gone hunting and wanted to know how it went. I want to thank Jim McKay who invited me to sign autographs at his trade show. His event was a success and helped raise $41,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Then it was off to California for the race weekend.

The NAPA team had a really good weekend at the Auto Club Speedway. If only the finish could reflect that.
We started a little bit off on Sunday but, we worked on the car and got it really good. We ran in the top 10 for most of the race and were sixth at the time we had our right fender tore off due to an incident on pit road. That took us out of it. For us, an 18th-place finish for a half wrecked car isn’t too bad. Overall, it was OK.

I’m not sure what this team has to do to get a little bit of luck on our side. It seems as if we have a really good car, something strange happens and we finish 20th. If we have a bad handling car we still finish 20th. It’s disappointing, but it’s racing. It is how it goes. We’re going to keep at it and it will all work out.

Next up is Charlotte Motor Speedway. I’m hoping the home cooking and being at Charlotte Motor Speedway this week will start our turn to the positive side. We had a good car in the spring race. We won the Showdown and finished second in the All-Star Race. Then we had some bad luck in the Coca-Cola 600 which isn’t too surprising. We had a good car so I am looking forward to going back. I’m also racing in the Nationwide Series race so I’m going to be busy, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.
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Kansas

October 6th, 2010

Hi Everyone,

A few weeks back when my brother made his first start in the Nationwide Series, I said it was a big weekend for the Truex family. Then two weeks ago at Dover, I found myself saying it again as Ryan won his second-straight K&N Pro East Series championship. Well, thanks to Diamond Waltrip Racing, another major event happened a lot earlier than the Truex family expected. On Saturday, my parents watched Ryan and me race against each other for the very first time.

Ryan raced the No. 99 Out! Pet Care Products Toyota and I ran the No. 00 with the same sponsor. We had reversed paint schemes so we kind of matched out there on the track. It was the first time I had raced on an intermediate track in the Nationwide Series event in about five years so it was nice to return to the Series that pretty much put me on the map when it comes to NASCAR. I finished fifth. A couple of the guys were a little bit stronger than us. I had a speeding penalty on pit road that cost us a bunch of spots, but we raced back up there and got the top-five finish.

To be honest, I kept my eye on Ryan all day long. Every time he was ahead of me, he had to pit. And every time I was ahead of him, I had to pit. We never did get near each other to race head to head. That’s the only thing I really missed. I am so proud of him. He did an awesome job out there. He did exactly what he needed to do and got a solid finish. During most of my post race interviews, the media called me Ryan. That didn’t take long to happen did it?

All and all, it was a very busy weekend for me as I also did a lot of work promoting NAPA’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure program. I was happy to do it as it’s such a great cause and I hope we can raise a lot of money. I attended the Komen press conference on Friday and sat next to the “King” Richard Petty. Then on Sunday, our Honorary Pit Crew Member Bill Sims brought his wife Susan to the race to take part in his unique experience. It turns out she is a breast cancer survivor and in January, she will celebrate six years of being cancer-free. I think she loved our NAPA All Out for the Cure paint scheme as much as Bill did. She even took a flyer about our Signature Car promotion and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see her name on my car at the Texas Motor Speedway race on Nov. 7. Don’t forget, if you are interested in participating in our Signature Car Facebook promotion, you still have until Oct. 11 to sign up. Just visit www.facebook.com/napaknowhow.

I am now off to Montana to do some white-tailed deer hunting with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and my best friend Adam (a.k.a. Dupree). I’ll share our adventures with you next week. On Thursday I go to Staunton, Illinois for a NAPA appearance before heading to California for the race weekend. It should all lead up to a good race weekend. I’ll be pulling double duty again and I hope to have a strong run in the NAPA Toyota. We had a fast car in the spring race before we had a mechanical issue. We should be good to go now! Take care and I’ll talk to you soon.