Sprint All-Star Race

May 20th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

The NAPA team finished 14th in the NASCAR Sprint Showdown on Saturday night. Obviously, it wasn’t the finish we were hoping for that evening. The car just did not handle well enough to race up front and be a part of the story. I was disappointed, but despite that, I am looking forward to the Coca-Cola 600. We gathered a lot of information and what we gained and learned from the NASCAR All-Star weekend will apply to the Coca-Cola 600. We can learn a lot from David Reutimann. His car ran well and  finished fourth. Unfortunately, Marcos and his team struggled, but still was able to finish in the top 10. We will look over the notes that we gathered and figure out what we need to do to be better for the big race this weekend.

The Sprint All-Star Race was a great race. The drama that was playing up to the last 10 laps was unbelievable. I couldn’t wait to watch the end. If you tell drivers they have 10 laps, they will flip the switch and go and that’s what we witnessed on Saturday night. Those first five laps of the 10 lapper were as good as you will ever see.

I am happy for Tony Stewart. I remember the first time I won a race as a NASCAR team owner. I started my NASCAR Nationwide Series team from behind my house in Sherrills Ford. We would load up our cars and take them to the track and race against DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.) and Hendrick Motorsports. When I won, I thought, ‘Man, what a great feeling.’ It inspired me to start a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. So, I can only imagine what Tony Stewart feels like this week. It is truly an accomplishment for him because not only did he get a win in the All-Star event, he put on his owner hat on Monday morning and had to deal with the fact that he had a $1 million pay day. That will certainly help his bottom line!

Before I go, I want to thank all of you who voted for me in the Sprint Fan Vote. You put me in close contention for the win. As a matter of fact, both Reutimann and I were among the top-five vote getters. I had a strong feeling that Joey Logano was going to win the vote. He pretty much had it wrapped up from the very beginning with all those people lined up behind him in that Home Depot commercial. I think that commercial was the key to Logano’s victory. It’s my plan to win a race before the season is out so we won’t have to worry about the Sprint Fan Vote next year. Regardless, I’m glad I was up there in the running thanks to you. It makes me feel special and I really appreciate the fact that a lot of people took the time to vote for me.

Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

Darlington Raceway

May 13th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

Darlington wasn’t very kind to Michael Waltrip Racing or JTG-Daugherty Racing for that matter. My night could have been a scene from one of my favorite movies, “Talladega Nights”. My NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads Toyota was on fire. My engine blew up in a major way. We broke a rod and there was a fire. We got quite a bit of coverage on it. In all my interviews after getting out of the car, I credited the NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads for helping me stop my car quickly and safely. NASCAR driver Greg Biffle asked me if the fire scared me and it did a little bit because of all the unknowns. When all the flames went up, I didn’t get burned, but the flames also didn’t go out as quickly as I thought they would. The flames started burning things in my car. The main thing I was thinking was to get somewhere on the track where I could get out. The cool thing was I got out of my car quickly and with no problems. Back in 2007 at the Auto Club Speedway, I caught on fire and had a hard time getting out of my car. I was stuck in there because the old car was so much smaller inside. I want to thank NASCAR for the new car. Tall guys like me can race on with little worries. I even called my buddy Ron Capps and told him he didn’t have anything on me after Darlington.

I watched the end of the race from my motor home and I have to say, I loved the end of the Southern 500. It was an intense finish. I enjoyed watching Mark Martin make his move. He ran low. Jimmie Johnson was running second and he chose to run high. They mixed it up a little bit. I found out as I sat on my couch that I really like racing. I was so into watching those last 30 laps because I knew the personalities out there on the track. I knew what Mark had and what he was all about. I also knew Jimmie. Mark looked like he was going to tie himself to the bottom and play all his chips from down there. Jimmie was all over the place trying to figure out what he needed to do to get by Mark. I love racing and I wished I would have been out there mixing it up with them.

This weekend should be exciting too with the 25th running of the Sprint All-Star Race. The format is a little different this year. There are four segments. The first segment is 50 laps and it includes a green-flag pit stop on lap 25 that everyone must complete. Then there are two 20-lap segments with a final 10-lap shoot out. I started on the outside of Row 2 for the 10-lap shoot out in 1996 and I won. I was able to win the race from the fourth spot. I don’t know if you are going to be able to win it from much further back in the field.

Last year, we saw Kasey Kahne win the Fan Vote to transfer into the Sprint All-Star Race. He went on to win the whole deal. That just shows you how good everyone is. When that green flag falls for the first 50 lapper on Saturday night, any one of those cars in the field can win the race. As a fan, I want to see that – but I hope to see it from inside my NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. Wish me luck and enjoy the race!
Sincerely,
Michael Waltrip

Richmond International Raceway

May 6th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

I want to thank everybody who sent me Happy Birthday messages. I appreciated it. I had a really nice day on my birthday. I played golf and then my NAPA team had a little get together and dinner for me outside my bus at the track. My brother Darrell was there and even Kenny Wallace stopped by to say hello. Kenny gave me a crisp 10-dollar bill for my birthday. We had a lot of good food to eat thanks to my coach driver Benito. My team even surprised me with my favorite chocolate cake with chocolate icing. We ended the evening watching my debut on “My Name is Earl”. We had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it.

With this being my 25th season in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing, I always got up in the morning and thought I was going to get to race my car because I was a great driver. Watching Reutimann haul the mail in the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine and seeing what Marcos Ambrose is doing by being up front almost every week has been a little bit hard on me as a driver. As an owner, I am very happy. But as a driver, I think I have lost a little bit of my confidence. I know it’s going to get better and the finishes I am expecting are just around the corner. At Talladega, we could have put that car up front. It didn’t work out. We got messed up in a wreck with just eight laps to go. Ty Norris, Cal Wells and Steve Hallam are all doing a great job running our organization, but I’m not happy with the job I am doing behind the wheel. It’s time I have a talk with the driver.

At Richmond, I was really happy about the performance and progression of the NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads Toyota. We started in the back in 30th position. We got a lap down, but we were able to make it up. The way the car drove and the kind of speed it had, I felt like we could run with them. We improved our car all night long, but at the end when it came time to get with it, I was too loose. We finished 24th.

We had our competition meeting on Monday and we discussed what Marcos’ car did. He did a great job finishing 11th place after getting crashed. He was able to persevere. David Reutimann had a top-10 run going until he was crashed. His car was really damaged after his crash to the point that he lost a lap there at the end. We all talked about our cars and I have to say, I like where we are right now as a team. Our meetings are productive. We learn from each other and it’s great to see how we are continuing to move forward in the right direction.

Looking back, I have seen a lot of people come and go in NASCAR. But I don’t think I have ever seen the enthusiasm or the desire to run every lap like Kyle Busch does. It was no surprise that he completed the Richmond sweep by winning both the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races. He runs every lap like it is the last lap. He will not settle for following someone no matter what. He is genuinely special. So, when you are watching a NASCAR race — whether you like him or not — enjoy what you are watching. Watching him makes me want to try even harder.

My NAPA car will once again have NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads on it. My NAPA car rarely changes so putting the Adaptive One paint scheme on it for two weeks in a row tells you how special this product is.

Before I go, I would like to tell every Mom out there – Happy Mother’s Day!

Talladega Superspeedway

April 29th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

I want to start out by saying how proud I am of my teammates — David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose. I’m proud of Reutimann because he’s thankful and he’s happy. He’s one of the guys. When we started Michael Waltrip Racing, we wanted to be part of the story and be up there racing with the big teams. I think maybe the story of the year is Marcos Ambrose. He came from Australia and hasn’t even seen these cars until a couple years ago and very rarely do people come from other disciplines of motorsports, other countries, and get in these cars and be able to do it. Marcos has done it and he’s competitive. At Bristol, he had a top-five run all day long. Every week he steps up. I am just real proud of his team and the benefits of our alliance with JTG-Daugherty Racing. I am just proud of the cars we’re building and what we’re doing.

Heading into the Talladega weekend, I was just a little disappointed in my year so far. I think my car has been good and we’ve been fast. But, I have made some mistakes. I love my NAPA car and I love being the driver for NAPA, but I want to bring NAPA a championship. If we can figure out an option of getting a championship with that team and winning more races with that team then that will be something we will have to look at really hard. I still want to race. I didn’t sign up to be a race car driver so I could wear this cool suit. I signed up because I want to win. I think I can win, but week in and week out, we need to step it up with the 55 a little bit. NAPA has been my sponsor for nine years and we’ve won the Daytona 500 and had some success. They market me better than anyone in the garage area. They are the best sponsor in my opinion with the way they go about marketing my team and me. I feel like I owe them. I owe them results. I owe them wins and I owe them a championship. That’s what Michael Waltrip Racing is working hard on.

This weekend I pulled double duty at Talladega. I drove the No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine in the Nationwide race. I just want to say what a great job Jerry Baxter (crew chief) and the guys on the Aaron’s Camry did. Last week at Phoenix we had a fast car. We had a fast one on Saturday too. We have nothing to show for it because we got wrecked. If the team keeps giving me cars like that then it’s going to be a good year for us. 

When it came to the Aaron’s 499 race, the good news about our day was all three of our cars were ultra competitive. We all had issues that we had to deal with. Marcos was able to overcome them to get a top-five. We had a real shot at a solid top-five finish or a top-10 finish for sure if we could have made it through that last wreck. Unfortunately, we didn’t. We’ll just hang our hats on the fact that all of our cars continue to be competitive and head to Richmond.

Richmond is a great track for me. I love it. It is one of my favorites. David Reutimann led the most laps there in the fall race. I think one of the things I enjoy most about 2009 is watching Marcos. What is he going to do next? He’s done really well at some of the toughest tracks we’ve been to. As a driver of the NAPA Toyota and as Michael the race car driver, I love that track and am looking forward to it. As the owner of the team, I cannot wait to see how all three cars will perform. It has been truly enjoyable to show up at the track every week and know that our cars are capable of winning the race.

This week don’t miss out on seeing my acting debut on My Name is Earl. It will air Thursday night at 8 p.m. on NBC. It will also be available to watch on the show’s Web site. Then on Saturday, I will be on NASCAR Race Day. It airs at 5 p.m. on SPEED. I’ll be talking about NAPA’s new paint scheme on my car for Richmond and Darlington. I’ll give you a hint … it’s NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads!
Sincerely,

Michael Waltrip

Phoenix International Speedway

April 23rd, 2009

Hi Everyone –

This owner/driver thing is maybe a little more difficult than I thought it would be because Michael Waltrip Racing had a great night with David Reutimann who was contending for the win or a top-five finish. My other teammate Marcos Ambrose was right up in the top-10 mix for awhile. My night was just bad. I had a good car. We ran well. We got to lead a lap and you never know how important those five bonus points are going to be one day. But our night turned bad just before the half-way mark. I made a mistake and got loose underneath Robby Gordon. I wrecked us both. I saw Robby after the race. I know he made some comments on TV about me that weren’t very nice. Robby didn’t deserve to get wrecked. That was my fault. He is teetering right on the top 35 and I know what that world is like. I am glad that he stayed on the right side of that fence. I am sorry that it happened. My mistake ruined our night. The race went back to green with my car all tore up and we ran about 120 laps without a caution. It was ugly.

On Friday night, I was leading the Nationwide Series race in my No. 99 Best Western Toyota and Carl Edwards just wiped me out. I thought, ‘That’s the dumbest thing I have ever experienced in my life. Why would he do that?’ The Best Western car was fast. I was really looking forward to racing it. During the first caution, Jerry Baxter made the call to stay out. The rest of the frontrunners pitted for fresh tires. I thought Jerry’s call was fine. I just didn’t anticipate someone being that impatient. Looking back, what happened on Saturday night with Robby changed my attitude towards Carl quite a bit. I can’t be upset with Carl after what I did to Robby. I made a mistake and I believe Carl made a mistake. It is so hard. It’s a tough job and sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to.

Mark Martin scored Hendrick Motorsports its fifth-consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Phoenix International Raceway. That’s amazing. It’s cool to see a win from one of the old guys. For awhile, everybody made a big deal out of age in the sport. I never really saw it. Good guys come along that are young and get a lot of attention despite the fact that there are guys in their 30s and 40s that still get the job done. Mark took it to the next level on Saturday night. He’s been winning races since he was 12 years old. Now, he’s 50 and won at a tough, little track. It’s impressive. He is a special talent. He is dedicated. He works hard. He can drive. He deserves the win. It’s really cool to erase that line between young and old. Let’s just race our cars!

Sincerely,

Michael Waltrip

Texas Motor Speedway

April 8th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

Michael Waltrip Racing had a pretty good weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway. David Reutimann and his No. 00 team got the pole for Sunday’s Samsung 500. His car was fast from the time they unloaded and they kept up the pace all the way through the race. Reutimann and his crew chief Rodney Childers put a really good package together. To go out and be the best on any given day, especially at a place like Texas where there is a lot of stuff going on, carries a lot of prestige. I am proud of them for the success they had down there and winning pole in the Aaron’s Dream Machine was a big deal for David and my entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization.

The JTG-Daugherty Racing team that we have an alliance with had a top-10 going despite having some mechanical issues. They eventually had an engine problem that put an end to their day, but despite that, everyone has to be impressed with Marcos Ambrose. He is a guy that showed up and now he is doing it! He is running in the top five and top 10 at many of these races – whether it is a short track like Bristol Motor Speedway or a fast, intermediate track like Texas Motor Speedway – he is running well. It is great for Tad and Jodi Geschickter. They’ve had their heart and soul in the NASCAR Series for 10 to 15 years now. To have the success they have had so far this season is a great story to tell.

As for my weekend, I was optimistic. I felt like we had a lot of potential. It just seemed like right at the wrong time in the race; our NAPA car wasn’t running right. We started in 34th and stayed on the lead lap forever. Then we got lapped along with the very next guy in front of us – AJ Allmendinger. The caution came out and AJ was able to capitalize by getting the free pass. Late in the going, we made an adjustment that really didn’t work for the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. It cost us another lap. At the end, Bootie got the car dialed back in and I was happy. It was fast again.

In any race, there are segments and you can sometimes fall off the pace like Jimmie Johnson did and get away with it especially if the cautions fly right. But there are other times in the race where you better be dead on or you’ll get so far behind that you won’t ever be able to make it up. That scenario happened to us and it’s a shame for the NAPA team.

For those of you who had the chance to watch the Cup race, you saw a good show. There were a lot of changes and turns that led to the outcome. We saw Jimmie Johnson and his team struggle early and then they rallied back to finish in second place. It looked like late in the going that Carl Edwards was going to make it three in a row but had a problem in the pits. That’s what I love about Texas. There always seems to be some type of drama there. Last fall it was the fuel mileage race. You just never know how Texas is going to play out until the very end.

This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off and I am proud of my entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization and the folks at JTG-Daugherty Racing. It has always been our goal to work our way into the four super teams – Hendrick, Roush, Gibbs and Childress. They are the main stays in The Chase. We have wanted to wedge one or two of our cars up in the middle of them. Right now, our No. 00 team has been able to get up in the top 12 and put some of those other teams behind them. My NAPA team is 21st in points and just 114 markers out of the top 12. Marcos is not too far behind as well. In my opinion, I feel like our entire organization has made the type of progress that we needed to make and I hope we are making NAPA proud.

Speaking of proud – I am happy for Ron Capps! He’s three for five in the win column. I plan to add one in mine so be ready!

If you want to catch some racing this weekend, look for me and my No. 99 Nationwide Series team. We’re heading to Nashville Superspeedway. The race will be televised on Saturday starting at 3 p.m. on ESPN.

Have a Happy Easter!

Martinsville Speedway

April 1st, 2009

Hi Everyone –

When we unloaded our NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry at Martinsville, I ran the first few laps and I thought, ‘Man, this is cool.’ My car felt like it needed to. That’s exactly what my team needs to do week in and week out. We need to build good cars and be prepared. If we continue to do that, the results will come. My other two teammates were able to make qualifying runs and got up into the top 10 on Friday’s practice sheet. The NAPA team never made a qualifying run. We just worked on our race set up. We were pretty confident that we would be very competitive on Sunday and indeed, we were. I loved driving that car.

During the race, we saw a great battle between Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. Jimmie did an amazing job. He tried to stay off of Denny and he lost his car. That’s OK. Then he hit the curb. That made his chances of passing Denny even more complicated. Then he hit Denny and he was still able to keep up enough momentum to drive off the corner. More importantly, Jimmie was able to get enough of a lead to stay in front of Denny so that Denny could not go to the next corner and run him over. You could tell Jimmie tried not to hit Denny. It all worked out. I bet Tony Stewart was grinning coming off of Turn 3 when he saw what was happening in front of him. It could have opened the door for him to get the win at Martinsville. What you always have to keep in mind is if you are going to hit somebody at Martinsville, you better make sure you can get away from him or at least get away from him for some time so that they can calm down a little bit. They might be a little kinder to you in three or four laps versus in Turn 1 just after the contact was made. If Denny could have caught up to Jimmy, it’s hard to tell what the outcome would have been. Regardless, what we saw was an amazing amount of car control from both of those competitors.

Another thing that I saw at Martinsville is just how challenging NASCAR can be. If you think about it, Brian Vickers drove a good race. He was in the top 10 for most of the day until his car developed an oil leak. He ended up finishing 33rd. Not too long ago, you could break inside the last 20 or 30 laps and still recover with a top-20 finish. Now that doesn’t seem to be the case. What happened to Brian Vickers happens to all of us from time to time and it’s a terrible feeling.

On Monday, I went back up to Martinsville and did the Truck race on SPEED. It was awesome. It was a great battle between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. They did the same thing in Atlanta. Kyle Busch came out on top. This time in Martinsville, it was Harvick that took the win. I just love working the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series broadcast because I love talking about racing.

This weekend we head to Texas Motor Speedway. The fun thing about that track is it is hard to drive. It’s fun. It’s fast. The fans are great too. When you go to Texas Motor Speedway for that race, the fans start showing up at the start of the week. The drivers and teams feed off that enthusiasm and excitement. I really enjoy being down in Texas and I hope to bring home a top-10 finish for the NAPA team.

Bristol Motor Speedway

March 25th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

Over 160,000 fans showed up at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was an economy booster. It doesn’t matter what is going on in the world, fans still need their Bristol. They all showed up and got to see a good race. You have got to appreciate what this sport is all about and what it has to offer. NASCAR means a lot to so many fans and it makes me proud. Bristol is a place that you just can’t explain to people. They have to go and experience it for themselves. If you haven’t been to a race at Bristol, I would highly recommend it!

We had a special guest join the NAPA team this weekend … Ron Capps was on hand Friday and Saturday. It was great to see him as he hung out in the pits with us the whole time. We even did an interview together after my qualifying run on SPEED Channel. Saturday, he watched my Nationwide team race from atop our pit box. Our crew chief, Jerry Baxter, was excited to have Ron up there with him. Jerry is a huge NHRA fan and a fellow Californian. Then after the race, the team got to see Capps climb into a Late Model for the first time and race it. He had to turn left for a change!

Bristol was a fun race to watch. From the very first lap, everyone was racing hard and not willing to give an inch. I really liked watching Travis Kvapil race Kyle Busch. It was incredible. Those guys really went at it and that’s the new Bristol. In the past, if you caught a guy and you were faster, you would hit him to move him out of the way. Now, a guy has an option. You can roll up high and keep that momentum going. There is so much side-by-side racing. It’s amazing how good the racing has become. I also noticed that the track has gotten pretty rough. It was bumpy in comparison to last fall. I thought it was a little bit more challenging. On top of that, we have learned more about these new cars so we are all going faster. When you go faster, it is bumpier. 

I thought it was interesting to see who ran well and who did not. The Roush teams did not have a good day. Greg Biffle lost a motor. David Ragan was three laps down. Carl Edwards finished 15th. Matt Kenseth, who has won there several times didn’t have a good finish either. I think it shows you how set up sensitive the organizations are. Kyle Busch is a great race car driver. He won the race. Denny Hamlin finished second right on Busch’s bumper. Gibbs had their package together for Bristol. Hendrick Motorsports ran well as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin were all up front racing for the win. So if an organization gets on it, they can spread the information to the other cars. When they miss it, it is spread amongst the other cars as well.

As for Michael Waltrip Racing and our alliance with JTG-Daugherty Racing, I just love what Marcos did at Bristol. He was in the top five all day. We had post-practice meetings all weekend long. Both Marcos and David had cars they loved. We struggled with our NAPA car. It never did handle right. I wiped one of them out during Friday’s practice. That mistake was pretty much on me. I think the back-up car might have been a little worse in comparison to our primary car. What is a little bit confusing for me as a driver and owner is that I am out there battling my car and mad as heck because it won’t do what I want it to do. Then I look up and see that I have two cars up in the top five and in contention for the win. It makes it interesting. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Our organization has really grown. I like the direction we continue to move in. We are racing forward and I am really proud of everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing.

 

Atlanta

March 10th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

Atlanta was a tough race. I saw everybody out there sideways except for Kurt Busch. He was dialed in. I got lapped three times and he was the only car I ever saw that passed me. He would lap me and we would run another 20 or 30 laps and then the caution would come out. That just shows you how good his car was. He ran really close to the wall and even had the right side of his car scrubbed off so he was committed that’s for sure. It was a really good run for that Penske team and it’s great to see them up front.

As for my NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, it was unmanageable. If you are loose off the corner, you can generally work with it. During the Atlanta race, I was so loose in the corner that I had a tough time dealing with it. In the corner, my car would just slide. I had to guess as to what my car was going to do and where it would go next. We really struggled with my car and David Reutimann’s team also had a challenge with their handling and an engine problem. Our cars were a handful. One thing to remember about Atlanta is the track is so worn out. I like tracks being worn out, but I would have liked to have a little bit more grip out there. 

Marcos Ambrose looked like he had a pretty good MWR car there for awhile until his engine blew up. His team continues to run competitively at tracks where Marcos has different degrees of experience. It’s unfortunate that both Reutimann and Ambrose ended up having engine issues. My NAPA team was fortunate to make it to the end and minimize our damage. We ended up with a top-25 finish. We’ll take that result and go out to Bristol Motor Speedway and see what we can get next.

I am really proud of Reutimann and what his team has been able to accomplish so far. They sit 12th in points. It’s a shame that the team dropped a cylinder on Sunday. It certainly put them back a little bit in points, but I am really looking forward to seeing what they can do at Bristol. Reutimann is really good there so he should have a good chance at getting back on track.

This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off. I like the fact that we have a break and it is great for everybody. It allows us to see where our stuff is and how it stacks up to the other teams. The break also allows us to regroup. This so-called off week really isn’t off for me. I am pretty busy. Today I am testing in Rockingham, N.C. Tomorrow I head to Washington D.C for a NAPA appearance. On Thursday, I travel out west to tape an episode of “My Name is Earl.” I am really looking forward to my acting gig as I have a significant role. I play myself, but I have been written in to a storyline so it’s more than just a cameo. I have speaking parts. I can’t wait. Stay tuned as my appearance on the show airs on Thursday, April 30th at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Have a great week everybody and I appreciate your continued support.

Las Vegas

March 4th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

The greatest thing at a NASCAR race is the amount of fun everyone has. At Las Vegas, it was no different. You saw drivers having a lot of fun. The race itself was way over the top. I am so proud that so many people showed up to watch the race and see what we love to do. It sure felt good to look up in those stands and see all those people. It was a great turnout. I even had my friend, comedian Ron White come to the track and watch the race from my pit box. I went to his show on Friday so he came to my show on Sunday. It was pretty cool.

When it came to on-track action, one of the coolest things I saw was Jamie McMurray make an incredible save. He should go hang out at one of those drifting schools. He made an amazing save. Another guy, Aric Almirola, found himself in a similar situation but, he wasn’t able to pull off the save. Sometimes fans ask, ‘Is it luck or skill?’ I have to say skill because anyone who can qualify for a NASCAR Sprint Cup race has to have a tremendous amount of skill. NASCAR drivers have more skill than anyone in America and are fortunate enough to make it to the pinnacle of racing. But, what Jamie was able to do on a set of radial tires was really cool to watch. In one second, what he was doing could have been over. Jamie was able to stretch that one second where it could have been all over to five or six seconds of incredible driving. If you haven’t seen it, try and catch the replay of the race.

I know I have said this before, but I will say it again. It is really hard to win one of these races and I truly believe that David Reutimann will win a race in the very near future. Reutimann qualified fourth for the race and had to go to the back of the field because of an engine change after qualifying. He persevered and drove the whole way up through the field. Then he had an oil leak that put him back in the field again. He drove up through the field a second time to finish fourth. It was his best finish of his Sprint Cup career. He’s our guy at MWR and we really believe he can win races. His time is coming.

I am also proud of my entire MWR organization. Marcos Ambrose once again turned in a top-20 performance with a wrecked car. We feel like we finally have our feet under us after some challenging times. My NAPA team once again had a fast car for me. We qualified decent. We practiced Saturday and it was horrible. Then Sunday, my NAPA team put a fast car under me. It all started to really work out for us. We were running fast and then I jumped the cushion. We crashed. It’s unfortunate, but I had a good car. There is no reason for me not to have another fast car at NAPA’s home track this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone and putting on a good show. We’ve got two cars currently in The Chase and I am proud that your NAPA car is one of them!

I hope to see you this weekend!