Watkins Glen International

August 13th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

Watkins Glen was really disappointing because our team made such great strides at Infineon Raceway from the time they got there and to the checkered flag. They got an 11th-place finish. I was really proud of the effort at that race. Patrick Carpentier did a great job. This time around, it seemed like they got off on the wrong foot after having that practice crash. They were able to rebound in qualifying and on Saturday. Then on race day, they put themselves in a position where they thought they could be competitive. They certainly ran well to be competitive at the start, but then they kept getting caught up in messes. There were a lot of messes in that race and we were involved in a couple of them that hurt us a lot. We didn’t get a very good finish so that was disappointing. We had high hopes for Watkins Glen.

As for the rest of the organization, I was very proud of the JTG-Daugherty team and Marcos Ambrose. They got us a second-place finish. It shows that our cars are where they need to be. David Reutimann ran competitively. It was the best finish he has ever had on a road course. I am proud of him as well. With all that said, our Sprint Cup teams are done road racing for the rest of the season.

After Watkins Glen, Reutimann is still in a position to make The Chase. It is going to be difficult, but he is still in a position to make it. That’s fun for all of us at Michael Waltrip Racing to watch. Marcos is gaining on just about everyone around him. We still have 14 more races to go and I am looking forward to every single one of them as I’ll be back in the NAPA Toyota for the rest of the season. I plan on having the best runs of the year in these last 14 events. I feel like that is very possible to accomplish because of all the effort and preparation we are doing with our cars and our teams.

One thing I am hoping for when it comes to this weekend is good weather. The weather needs to cooperate with us. It would be nice to actually race on Sunday like we are supposed to. So far the weather is looking like sunny and 85 degrees. Let’s hope it stays that way.

 I’m going to go now and I hope you guys enjoy the race and can catch me on Monday for This Week in NASCAR on SPEED. Have a good rest of the week and enjoy your weekend.

Bye for now,

Michael Waltrip

Pocono

August 4th, 2009

Hello Everyone –

It was a tough weekend for us at Pocono. Our car wasn’t quite the way we were hoping it would run when we unloaded on Friday. I got sideways in practice. I ran off the road to save it and when I did, it tore up the splitter. I had to go to a back-up car. All and all, we made a lot of progress during the race. We had a chance to have a solid top-20 run and the longer the race went on; the car got even better. It went pretty well. Unfortunately with about 20 laps to go, there was a wreck. I was on the bottom and somebody came down from the top and I had nowhere to go. I hit him. It really messed us up.

The new car is certainly very track-position dependent especially at a place like Pocono. David Reutimann was able to get some track position and run right up front. Unfortunately he got spun around and when he did, he got into our teammate, Marcos Ambrose. All three cars had a tough day.

Marcos is currently in Dover today participating in a Goodyear Tire test. The test is really beneficial for all of us. When a car gets to test like that we should be able to gain some great information from it.

Patrick Carpentier is going the drive the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota for me at Watkins Glen. It should be a lot of fun for me to watch.

I am looking for Marcos to be the main man to beat up there at The Glen. I expect Patrick to give him a real run for his money. I think it would be awesome for MWR or JTG-Daugherty Racing to have a car find its way to victory lane up there.

This past Saturday, I left Pocono after practice for Nashville Speedway. SPEED was broadcasting the NASCAR Camping World Series event. I saw a lot of good fans from that area. I consider it my old stomping ground. Darrell does too. I saw a bunch of NAPA Racing fans there. It is always good to go to a different part of the country and see folks that support our team. I really appreciate that.

Today I am off to Iowa for a couple of days with Kenny Wallace. I am doing some dirt racing. I don’t plan on actually driving but I will be there for support and signing a bunch of autographs. Then it is up to Watkins Glen on Sunday to support my teams and cheer them on. Our goal for this weekend is to have all three teams have solid top-five or top-10 finishes. That’s not a bad goal to have is it? 

Have a Good Week!

Michael Waltrip

Brickyard 400

July 30th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

Last week was busy and it started early for me. I woke up in Los Angeles on Monday as I was doing an event at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. I went there to visit the track’s season-ticket holders. I also did some media which gave NAPA some nice media coverage. It was 115 degrees out and they had over 400 people show up to just visit with me. I really enjoyed the trip out west for a couple of days during our so called off week.

I got home on Tuesday in time to attend a NAPA sales event at the shop. We had all of the NAPA drivers there – Ron Capps and our new guy – Martin Truex Jr. Then on Wednesday morning it was off to Minnesota to take part in a NAPA appearance at the Delta/Northwest Airlines hanger at the St. Paul/Minneapolis airport. NAPA has a store at the airport and all the maintenance workers were invited to bring their equipment to the hanger for inspection. If something needed repaired, NAPA had the parts ready to go for them. While they waited, I signed autographs. From there, I left for Warsaw, Indiana to sign more autographs in the afternoon for Dave Illingworth who opened a Toyota dealership. Dave is a former boss out of Toyota Motor Sales in California. He’s turned a page in his life and has gone on to owning a dealership. Needless to say, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were busy days where I had the chance to meet a lot of really nice people.

On Thursday, I got to golf at the Brickyard and then it was off to another appearance for Coca-Cola in the evening. It was at the new Indiana Live Casino which is a really nice place. If you are in the Indianapolis-Shelbyville area, you should stop.

Friday it was all about being on track. The NAPA team had two really good practice sessions. We were really pleased. Our NAPA Toyota was competitive. We followed it up on Saturday with qualifying. It was delayed for a few hours due to rain, but once it cleared out, we got to qualify. We posted the 23rd-fastest lap.

I felt really good about my car when the race started on Sunday. We were able to be really competitive. We ran 23rd at the start of the race. I was really looking forward to adjusting on the car because it was a little bit loose at first. I knew we could work on it and get it even better so that we could make our way up through the field and contend for a really good finish. We had a car that could mix it up with the best of them in my opinion.

Unfortunately on a restart, a lot of grass stopped up the radiator. A couple of cars in front of me got together and one ran off the road. When it happened, they must have thrown the grass up on the radiator. My crew chief Bootie Barker came over the radio to say that it looked like a whole bale of grass was on our grill when I got to our pit. It really messed us up as it overheated our motor. Then after we got things cooled down and back on the track, the motor started to miss here and there. It finally blew up with less than 20 laps to go.

For a driver, it wasn’t a good day at the track for us. The week on the other hand for our sponsors and fans, it was a good one.

Now I am gearing up for Friday. I am heading out that morning to Pocono to do it all over again.

Bye for Now,

Michael Waltrip

Chicagoland Speedway

July 13th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

Well, it’s Saturday night about midnight. We just finished up the running of the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Mark Martin won and some lucky fan won $1 million. How crazy is that?

We finished 20th and David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose were 12th and 11th. It was a great week for Michael Waltrip Racing and NAPA. It was great to finally announce what we are doing for the next few years. Martin Truex, Jr. is going to wheel the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. I am proud of NAPA’s commitment to the team and Martin’s decision to come drive for us. He is a former NASCAR Nationwide Series champion – two times. When he showed up to race NASCAR, he was a guy who was fast. He understood what you needed to do to win. He is going to be driving our car in 2010. I couldn’t be more proud.

The whole organization at Chicago – starting with Trevor Bayne who finished 12th on Friday night in the Nationwide race — then all three cars finished in the top 20 tonight — that’s a good weekend for us. We still are a couple of rungs down the ladder of where we need to be. Hendrick Motorsports has it going on. They are all over it. David remains in contention for that top 12 in points to be a part of The Chase. We are certainly focused on that and we will just keep plugging to get better. We will keep trying to figure out why those other cars can go faster than ours. David, Marcos and I can definitely drive better than where we are finishing. We are competitive. Don’t get me wrong, we can always do better. We just need to get the cars tweaked. Hendrick Motorsports had Martin first and Gordon second – I think I read that it was their 27th one-two finish. We haven’t had any of those yet. Granted, Mr. Hendrick has been doing it for 25 years and we have only been doing it for two and a half years, but our sponsors don’t care about that. They need to win and we know and respect that. We have really good people at MWR who are trying to figure it out. Steve Hallam, Rodney Childers, Frankie Kerr and Bootie Barker have been great additions to our organization. They are pulling hard and working together to figure out what we need to do. We will get there. I am confident about that.

Overall, I had a good week like I said. We were on Trackside, NASCAR RaceDay and we were live on SPEED with our press conference. I am really proud about everything we were able to accomplish. I am proud of Traci (Hultzapple) and all of our people for the press conference. I don’t think I have ever seen a sponsor-driver announcement with anymore flair or pizzazz than that one. When Dale Jr. announced he was going to Hendrick Motorsports it wasn’t as cool as our press conference. So I thank everyone involved for that. I thank NAPA for their commitment and I thank SPEED for showing it live and all the other opportunities they gave us for coverage this week.

Next week I am off for a few days. I’ll spend the weekend in Kentucky broadcasting the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Then I am off to Los Angeles for some media commitments. I will be back on the east coast on Tuesday for a NAPA appearance at Raceworld. I’ll follow it up with more appearances on Wednesday for NAPA and Toyota in St. Paul, Minnesota and Indianapolis. Busy week coming up so stay tuned.

Before I go, I want to say that I appreciate all your support – mainly for the opportunity. It means a lot to help work with NAPA and sell more parts over the next few years. It means a lot to me. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Michael Waltrip

MWR NAPA Press Conference

July 8th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

Yesterday was a big day for me. We announced that NAPA was coming back and that Martin Truex, Jr. will drive the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota in 2010. I will also run for NAPA in the Daytona 500 so you will see two of your cars go out there in February and try to win the race for you.

I couldn’t be happier about what was announced. NAPA is by far the best sponsor any driver could hope to have. They have stuck with me as I have built this team and experienced some struggles. Now they are seeing the performance of the teams really improve. It’s time for us to take it to the next level and win a championship for them. NAPA deserves it as they have been my sponsor for nine years and won two Daytona 500s with me. But the main thing I want to say about NAPA is they have over achieved for me. They have been there every step of the way. My dream was to build Michael Waltrip Racing and with their support, we were able to do that. The MWR facility and people would not be here if it wasn’t for NAPA and their commitment to MWR. That’s a very humbling thought for me. It’s also very motivation to me. It makes me want to do everything I can in the whole world for them and to insure that we get NAPA more victories and a place at the championship table in 2010 with Martin Truex, Jr.

I am going to share with you some of my thoughts and parts of my speech from yesterday’s press conference. While some people think I may be sad, I am not. I couldn’t be happier about what transpired as we continue to move forward together.

I was born; my brother was 16 years old, and all I’ve ever known my whole life is running up and down the road going to races. From a very young age I knew exactly what I wanted to be:  I wanted to be a race car driver, just like my big brother.

And I wanted to be a team owner at some point, just like my big brother, so I’ve got a lot of my inspiration and a lot of the direction and things I’ve done in my life come from Darrell. And the thing that I’m most proud about is he never let me down.

He was a role model that was there for me, and I’m certainly thankful for him in more ways than you can imagine, especially in this world where sometimes your heroes let you down, my brother never did, so thank you, big brother.

I started racing because I wanted to drive a car. And today, you know, that’s exactly where I am. I just love driving race cars. Having a team was a part of my dream.

I’m here today to tell you that there has been a time or two when I thought maybe it was going to say “for sale” or “for lease” out front instead of “Michael Waltrip Racing,” but we pushed through, and we’ve made this place a formidable competition to the rest.

Winning the Coca Cola was one of the best days of my career, and I can’t tell you how wonderful having that trophy is. I didn’t think about winning a race, I just thought about racing. I’ve won $47 million; I read the other day, and FYI, my half in this team cost about $48, so I’m not up by any stretch of the imagination.

But it’s been fun to be “all in” and invest in the sport like I’ve been able to do. There are so many people that have helped me get here, and I’ve gained a tremendous amount of respect for and some that I wish were here now, including my dad, LeRoy, Mr. France gave me direction and suggestions on how to act at a time or two, told me not to act like my brother, which that was kinda hard, Dick Bahre, Chuck Rider and Dale Earnhardt, who helped me to find my career.

There have been great sponsors, Pennzoil, Aaron’s, Kraft, Citizens, Best Western, Freightliner, and those folks have helped me get to where we are today. But there has been one sponsor that has defined my career, and we’ve been together for nine seasons, and that’s NAPA AUTO PARTS. I’m the only driver that has ever driven the car full time for NAPA, and we have one of the longest driver-sponsor relationships in the sport.

I’m certainly proud of our relationship and all we’ve been able to accomplish over the last nine years and especially proud of how much their support has meant to me. They started running ad campaigns that let me goof off and be me, and I think it helped make NAPA and me synonymous with one another.

It certainly was a joy for me to be a part of. I told them about my dream in 2005 about owning a Sprint Cup team, and they said they wanted to live my dream with me and we started on this road in the middle of ‘05 toward racing for the first time in ‘07.

There was a time or two in ‘07 when we all thought maybe the dream wasn’t that good of an idea, but when I got down, they were there saying, “You’re our owner, you’re our driver, we’ll get through this. This isn’t how the dream ends. The dream ends with the NAPA car being in victory lane.”

And that’s what kept me going.  As an owner I knew there would come a time when I wouldn’t be a full time driver anymore, and that time is now. In 2010, I’m going to run a limited schedule, a few races here and there, not really sure how many or where they will be. I do know that for the 52nd running of my favorite race and the biggest race in the world, the 52nd run of the Daytona 500, thanks to NAPA AUTO PARTS I will be racing in the 500 in my NAPA car, No. 55.

I’m proud and happy. I’m turning my car over to a guy that I think can go win the championship in it, and I’ve always said    I’ve been racing these cars for a long time, as we all well know — if I thought I wasn’t the best man for the job, I wouldn’t have had a ride for this long. If I wasn’t the guy to go race it on Sunday, somebody else would take my place. And I believe at this time in my career that Martin is the right guy to take over my car and go win races in it. I’m sitting here happy about the fact that Martin is taking over my car. I didn’t have to quit, I didn’t need to quit, I just wanted to do this for to me it’s always been about the sponsors, and NAPA has been the greatest sponsor I could ever have, and I thought this was an opportunity to put them in victory lane on a regular basis, and that’s why we’re sitting here today. I couldn’t be happier or prouder. I’m really thankful.

Thanks Everybody,

Michael Waltrip

napa-group.jpg

Infineon Raceway

June 25th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

Last week, I had a really cool week.

It started off with a trip to California for the taping of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” with host Jeff Foxworthy. The show is going into syndication starting in September and I was there to participate in “NASCAR Week”. I played for the Victory Junction Gang Camp and I hope I raised the most money of all the drivers who played. I’ll keep you posted as to when it will air. I won’t tell you how well I did. It was a lot of fun and I like all the Hollywood projects I’ve been doing. It might be another calling for me.

Then it was off to Milwaukee for SPEED to help broadcast the Truck race with Phil and Rick. I was supposed to do it on Friday night and then fly to San Francisco to support the Cup teams, but it rained so I stayed over. I did the Truck race on Saturday afternoon and then cheered on my No. 99 Nationwide Series team as they raced there that night. Trevor Bayne and the No. 99 team was fast in the end and got a top-15 finish.

I flew home with the Nationwide team and got to enjoy watching the MWR and JTG-Daugherty teams on track at Infineon. I think it is important every now and then to take a different view of things. I was able to step back and watch the Cup race and listen to the scanner stuff. For me, it was an educational experience. I also appreciated all the hard work the guys did. I really liked what I saw. 

As a driver, I have had top-five and top-10 finishes at Infineon. I believe I could have pulled another one off, but our best chance for a win was with Patrick Carpentier. Unfortunately, the NAPA team got a day behind. They had a tough day on Friday and then they got caught up on the second day. Any time at this level you give a day away, it’s very difficult to overcome. I am proud of the 11th-place result we posted especially since Patrick got spun out early and had to come from behind. Overall, I am pleased at what I saw happen last weekend. Everybody did a great job.

Now it’s off to New Hampshire and back in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. I am looking to better last year’s second-place finish so be watching!

Bye for Now,

Michael Waltrip

Michigan

June 16th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

I had a really good week. It started off by going to Kentucky for a couple of days for my sponsor Aaron’s. I spent time with their folks. It was really enjoyable. Then it was off to Michigan for the race. On Saturday I had the good fortune of doing the Truck race on SPEED. That’s a lot of fun talking Trucks with Phil Parsons and Rick Allen. Those guys make the Truck coverage so much fun for me to be a part of.

Then on Sunday morning, I spent time with my NAPA friends up in their suite. What a view and way to watch the race. We took a bunch of pictures and they really seemed to have fun.

Then it was off to the race for me and as you already know, it was a tough day for us. We survived. I thought we had a decent car after Saturday’s final practice. Then in the race, none of our three cars really ran all that great. I guess from time to time we are going to have days like that because we are a young, relatively new organization. We are still learning and getting better. Our three cars were really loose from lap two on. We were all just sideways. Our finish was certainly not what we were hoping for. We had a faster car than that. It just wouldn’t get any traction in the turns so it made for a challenging day. My arms were really tired. I am just happy to have survived to the finish. It allowed us to move up in the standings. It is my goal to get the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota in the top 20 in championship points by the end of the season.

We’re now getting ready to head off to the NAPA Valley – Sonoma and the Infineon Raceway. Patrick Carpentier is going to drive my NAPA Toyota. He is a great road racer and has won races all over the world. I am really fortunate to have had some success on road courses. I have had some top-five and top-10 finishes. I just was never good enough to be in the fight for a win. As an owner, I want to win. Winning at Charlotte with David as my driver and me winning as an owner was as gratifying as anything I have ever done. It would mean a whole lot to me to see my NAPA car in victory lane. We’re going to take our best chance to win and that’s with Patrick Carpentier.

I am looking forward to watching the race this weekend especially when it comes to the double-file restarts. They are really cool. I think it is visually appealing for the fans. The cars are all stacked up and lined up on top of each other. It is just fun to watch. We raced that way on the big old Pocono track and at Michigan. A lot of cars got to race against each other. I think it is fun and it introduces a whole new strategy. It will only get better. Plus, we’ve never had a double-file restart at the road races. We’ve always done single-file restarts. I am really going to get to be a fan at Sonoma and get me a good spot so I can watch those crazy restarts and just enjoy the race.

I’ll be back in the NAPA Toyota when we go to Loudon – which is a place I finished second last year. It’s a track I really love to race on. I am looking forward to getting up there and getting back on track before we head to Daytona and try and win us a race.

Bye for Now,

Michael Waltrip

Pocono

June 9th, 2009

Before I talk about Pocono and what happened last week, I want to make sure everyone knows that I am handing over the keys to the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota to Patrick Carpentier for the Infineon Raceway event. There are so many great road course racers competing in Sonoma this year, and as the owner and driver of the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, I am in a unique position. If I see where I can improve my car’s performance then that’s exactly what I am going to do. I love being an owner and I want to get another win for NAPA. It will feel just as good if I get the victory for NAPA or watching from the pit box with Patrick driving the car. I appreciate NAPA allowing me to make these kind of personnel moves when I feel it is best for the team.

Now back to last week — what an interesting week for me. First off, I headed off for a day trip on Wednesday to Palm Desert, California where I met the NAPA folks – Dan Askey, Mark Mills and Brad Crawford for a AAA function. It was held at an old mining camp. My new shoes got kind of dirty, but I had a really good time and ended my portion of the event with a joke about ducks. If you ever run into Askey, Mills or Crawford – ask them to tell you my joke. I thought it was really funny.

I got back to Charlotte a little after 6 a.m. on Thursday morning to board the team plane later that afternoon for good old Pocono. What a weird race for the NAPA AUTO PARTS team. On the first lap of the race, I think Scott Speed got into me and messed up my rear fender. Then the caution flew for Denny Hamlin’s problem and we fixed it. Unfortunately at the start of the race, we were in the back of the field. My crew chief Bootie Barker made some great calls in the pits, but fortunately the problems I had in the pits didn’t set us back too much. 

All and all, it was a good weekend for Michael Waltrip Racing and JTG-Daugherty Racing. David Reutimann scored a top-five finish and Marcos Ambrose finished sixth. Both guys jumped up two spots in the points and Reutimann is currently in The Chase. I am really pleased and happy for my teammates. Also, Ryan Truex, our Camping World East development driver won up at Watkins Glen International in the No. 00 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. He’s Martin Truex’s little brother. Plus, Trevor Bayne sat on the outside pole at Nashville for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in the No. 99 Toyota Camry. It was only his second start. We got a couple young kids doing good jobs for us at MWR.

I also want to send out congratulations to Tony Stewart for the win at Pocono and the comeback Ryan Newman made in the race. Ryan spent a lot of time on pit road for a spark plug problem. It was impressive that he rallied back to a top-10 finish. Those guys are two of the best drivers in the garage area. Tony’s record is pretty impressive especially with the two NASCAR Sprint Cup championships he has under his belt so far. Ryan came on the NASCAR scene and dominated pole qualifying. They are a part of a team affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports so it’s not really surprising to me to see the kind of success they are having this season.

This weekend, we saw the new double-file-restart rule put into action. NASCAR announced earlier last week that they were making a change. I loved it. I thought it was cool. The fans got to see something that was unique and new. NASCAR was very smart about implementing it at Pocono where they had a lot of time to work their way through the nuances the rule was going to bring. I think it may be a little bit tougher as time moves forward at places like Bristol where we may see some real tough times figuring out how to do things in a hurry. I think everybody is into it and they understand why NASCAR is doing it. Some Sunday’s we will see how the new rule will be a good break for some competitors and tough on others. It’s just racing.

Dover

June 1st, 2009

Hi Everyone –

When we came to Dover last fall, we got a top-10 finish. We started in the back, but I had so much confidence in my car. I just knew I was going to drive up through the field. Yesterday, we started 29th. I had the exact same feeling. Practice on Saturday was great, but when the race started, there just wasn’t any grip in my NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. We totally had no grip. I slipped and I slid. We survived. We thought we had gotten through the start of the race and we’d be OK. Then we had a flat right rear tire and a flat right front tire. We went three laps down. Despite that setback, we stabilized. We got our car running well and then the motor blew up.

We blew a motor at Darlington and now at Dover. I am a little frustrated about that because with the gear rules we have today that NASCAR puts on the engines, I don’t think we should ever have an engine problem. We are meeting with TRD and will figure out what happened and why it happened. We know the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry has the best parts in the garage area and I don’t believe it was a parts problem. We know for sure, if you run NAPA AUTO PARTS, you are not going to have a failure.

I am disappointed bitterly because of the result we got. I am sad about what it has done to us in the points because we just don’t deserve it. We should be a lot better than that. We’ll try and be better next week at Pocono.

In general, it was a pretty darn good week for me in Dover. I did the Truck race on Saturday. It was an exciting race on SPEED. I also got to meet a bunch of folks at the NAPA Race Day Experience.

Thanks for everything and I’m sorry about a quiet exit from the race at Dover. We deserve more.

Bye for Now,
Michael Waltrip

Coca-Cola 600

May 26th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

The NAPA team finished 30th in the Coca-Cola 600 yesterday. I told the guys on SPEED’s “Victory Lane” that my mind was kind of confused. I didn’t perform the way I would have liked to so I am not happy — BUT — David Reutimann won the Coca-Cola 600. It’s his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win which also gives Michael Waltrip Racing its first NASCAR Sprint Cup race victory in our very short history. In one day, I am a winner and a loser. How about that???

I have to tell you in watching the rain fall yesterday, it reminded me of Daytona in 2003. It was a nice shower. The one we had yesterday was certainly a welcome one as well. David got himself a victory and I don’t think anyone really realizes just how hard it is to get a win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It didn’t matter that the race was shortened to 227 laps because all the cars in front of David had the exact same option. They chose to turn left instead of going straight. I think people forget that the NAPA team had a race won last year and on the last lap, my motor blew. The win was taken away from us. It wasn’t fair. We only had to run about a mile and you would think the motor would have been able to do that. Sometimes life isn’t fair in one direction and sometimes it’s not fair in another. In this particular case, David’s team did the best job out there. They made the best call and David is the winner of the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600.

I cannot tell you how special it feels right now. It’s been a real challenge to get to the point where we are now. We barely survived 2007. In 2008, we got our feet under us. Now, less than a third of the way into the 2009 season, we have a couple of cars that are contending for Chase spots. We have been racing against organizations that have done this for over 25 years. We started from scratch. We didn’t go out somewhere else and get someone else’s cars, equipment and motors. We just didn’t have that option. Our only option I had to become an owner was start my own team with Toyota. I always wanted to be an owner. It has been a real tough road to hoe but just sitting on pit road yesterday while it rained – knowing that I had a chance felt pretty good.

Today everyone that worked at MWR met in our theatre for a celebratory team meeting. David rolled the trophy in and it was pretty darn special. I told all of the men and women who work at MWR that we all made history. I joked with them and said, “This is big. We just didn’t win darn Pocono.” Granted, we’ll be proud to win there in a few weeks, but MWR won the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600. It’s a big race and it’s in our backyard. I couldn’t be prouder of my organization. I am really looking forward to going down the road with these people and winning more races. I think we have a pretty cool place to work and as an owner, it makes me feel proud because I have been with other organizations where it was a three car team, but in reality, it was three – one car teams. Our deal here is certainly a lot different than that. I see it. I feel it and I know it. I am thankful for it.

Another thing I am thankful for is NAPA. Thanks to them, I am able to race cars as an owner and experience a day like I had yesterday and the week I am having now.

Tomorrow night everyone from MWR is getting together for a big party. It is something that I feel is really important to have as my team’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory together. It is one to truly relish because you never know when the next one is going to be. We’ll just seize the day and cherish the moment. I’m looking forward to having everyone together and I wish all my fans could be there too. We’ll be away from the shop and we’ll just all hang out.

Here’s to more victories!