I would like to thank everyone for your words of support for the firefighters and those impacted by the fires out here in Colorado. Fortunately, they’ve got all of them taken care of finally and we got some rain. It’s still a severe drought but at least it’s not the timber box that is used to be. The firefighters did a great job containing the fires so I hope we don’t have to worry about it the rest of this year. The closest one to us was probably the Boulder fire about 15 to 20 miles away so it was far enough where it didn’t have us too worried but close enough to keep an eye on it. We feel very fortunate.
The drug screening process in NASCAR has come back into the spotlight of late and a lot of people have shared their opinions on the system. I think as with any process, there are always ways that you can refine it. I don’t believe NASCAR would pull someone out of the car without pretty substantial evidence that something is not right. To me, it’s our responsibility to know the stuff what we take. Personally, I think I can take care of myself better than anyone else so I don’t think we need a “driver’s group” so to speak as some have suggested. I also don’t think we need to go to the other extreme where we have to avoid even taking vitamins. The human body does not always get all of the vitamins and nutrients that it needs just through what we eat. If we want to take a vitamin supplement or something that is over the counter, there should be no issue with that whatsoever.
There is a lot on the line from a career standpoint that rides on that test, so it’s enough to make anyone nervous. There are certain people in the sport where you pay attention and listen to every word they say and the drug tests to me are one of those “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” moments.
Overall, I think if there is one thing that NASCAR can do better with this process it would be to get the results back a little quicker, say on a Tuesday or Wednesday, leaving enough time to clarify any mistakes before the next race weekend. I have enough confidence in it that when the sanctioning body takes a certain action because of the results, I feel that they have good reason for it.
During the off week I will be throwing out the first pitch in the Colorado Rockies game again. I look at this event as an opportunity to go out and have some fun. Last year, my pitch wasn’t necessarily in the strike zone and I would’ve liked to have that one back, so my goal is to make a better pitch this year. From a practice standpoint, I did absolutely no additional preparation than I did last year. So I’m not sure why I have reason to expect the outcome to be any different, but I’m still hoping to throw out a strike regardless! Last year I threw a few pitches with the guys at the shop and we simulated the distance but when I got out to the mound at Coors Field, it still looks like 100 feet further than it actually is! So I think I’m just better off not going crazy with practicing.
On the racetrack, unfortunately, it still seems like it is the same story with us this year, we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s just been one of those years it seems. Now sometimes you can influence your luck and in a lot of cases this year, we were involved in incidents because we were running behind due to poor qualifying. That goes back to the time we unload off the truck and all of the adjustments we make in between that point and when we make our first practice lap. It is those times where we can look ourselves in the mirror and admit that we made our own bad luck by being towards the back of the pack in the first place.
We look at every week as a possible turning point where we can start making things better. Our job now is to pinpoint those moments during the weekend where it goes wrong and correct them. We need to do a better job getting the car prepared so we’re not far off when we unload off the truck. We need to do a better job of making adjustments and fixing things in the race setup that I’m looking to get fixed. When we start doing those things, our luck will get better because we will be making our own luck. It’s just a combination of fine tuning things and especially working on the handling. When you handle better, it produces speed, better race cars and happier race teams. When we get the car handling better, we’ll get the speed back in them as a result.
Each week that you have a bad finish, you can’t wait until the next week to put it behind you and try again. That puts us in an interesting position going into the off week. I think it’s good to get away and take a breath but we’re also racers. So even when I’m sitting around the house, I’m still thinking about what we need to do to get this program turned around and pointed in the direction we were in last year and that I know we can get back to this year.
Even though part of me would love to be at the next track, working on improving our team, I’m going to try to relax as much as possible. Our season goes through stretches that span over several weeks without a break. So this is a good opportunity to take a step back and refocus. I’m going to try to enjoy the weekend as much as possible, which for me, means still finding my way to a race track. This time though, I’ll be hanging out with one of my buddies at the NHRA event. From there, we’ll be around town where there is a lot to do, so it will be an enjoyable weekend I’m sure.
I hope that all of you are enjoying this summer and staying cool! Thanks again for all of your support of the Furniture Row Racing team. I can assure you that we are trying like heck to get back on the right track and look forward to turning in some performances we can all be proud of!
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