It’s another off-weekend for the Craftsman Truck Series, but that doesn’t mean I’m lounging around the house. Aside from the business of NASCAR racing, I keep myself extremely busy with David Starr Racing – my show car/simulator promotional company. We work with companies like Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper, and they use our real NASCAR Nextel Cup racecars for displays in front of Wal-Mart stores to promote their products and we also supply them with racecar simulators. We take simulators to different Wal-Marts every weekend, the kind where you get in, the seat moves left to right, and you have a big computer screen in front of you where your racing other cars. It’s a neat experience. We currently have two Coke simulators that we put in Wal-Mart stores throughout Texas, and they also have a show car with us. Dr. Pepper has a car that you actually get inside of and it has a simulator where you race the computer.
We started the company several years ago, around 2000, after several people found out that I was a racecar driver from Texas and started requested my appearance at certain company events. Nabisco was one of the first, and they were having me come speak at several of their meetings, talking about racing, how we prepare and things like that. A lot of these meetings were teambuilding meetings for their employees, so I would speak about what I do and how it can be translated to the business world.
Employers want their people focused, prepared, fast and efficient, but it’s just like on pit road – fast isn’t always efficient. You want to do it right the first time, or else you spend more time fixing your mistakes. Your team can get you out in 14 seconds if they work fast enough, but if they don’t also take special care to make sure they actually have all the lugnuts tight or made all the right adjustments, you will end up having to come back and will lose any extra time you gained by being fast. So I relate that to what they are doing and talk about how important teamwork is and how NASCAR is such a team effort and everyone has to do their part.
But it was Nabisco that got us started. They always asked me to speak at different events and wanted me to bring a racecar. Finally, I asked them if they wanted to have their own racecar and their eyes lit up. I did a contract, went and bought a Nextel Cup car, they designed the paint scheme, and off we went. We’d take the car to grocery stores and Wal-Mart stores while they would give away samples and I’d make appearances. From there, it just grew to what we are today. While probably 60% of our business is in Texas, my home state, the other 40% of our business is other states such as Arkansas, New Mexico, Nevada and all over.
While I definitely enjoy running my business, nothing beats climbing into the cockpit of my International MaxxForce Diesel Ford F-150. The season is winding down and we have only six races left. Obviously, we haven’t exactly met the goals we set at the beginning of the season, but we are working hard to get to victory lane by the end of the season. The goal right now is to make sure we finish in the top 10 in points. We’re close, but we aren’t there yet. If you can finish in the top 10 or top five every week, the points will take care of themselves, so that’s what we have to do. We haven’t been able to get a consistent to finish in the top 10 with our International MaxxForce Ford, but my team has done a tremendous job. They are working hard and making our F-150s better, but I am definitely surprised it is taking so long. I, along with my Circle Bar Racing team, have been disappointed in our finishing results, but we’ve had a lot of bad luck. We’ve had great trucks, but weird things have been happening to keep us out of the top 10. Our team goal is to get more top fives in these final six races and to get into the top 10, so that’s what we’re going to do.
The next race on the Craftman Truck Series schedule is at the Talladega Superspeedway – our second trip to that track. The fans will definitely see an exciting, action-packed race. For the competitors, it’s just really intense and incredible to drive on that track. The trucks just race so good at Talladega and put on a heck of a show. So I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Ever since we left Vegas last week, I’ve been thinking about the Talladega race last year and how we positioned ourselves at the end of the race, before we got involved in the wreck. In the end, we finished, but you think about what happened last time and what you could have done better or different, and maybe made decisions you could have made it better. I have all of that in the back of my mind. I love Daytona and Talladega and that type of superspeedway with the racing and drafting. My goal is to finish top five.
Obviously, at a track like Talladega, drafting is extremely important. During practice, you figure out if your Ford F-150 runs better with a Toyota in front of you, or another Ford, it’s just something you learn when you’re there. The trucks race so well at Talladega and it’s such a drafting game. You want to work with somebody and you try to, but usually it doesn’t work out that way. Everybody is out there is for themselves. You try to help someone in front of you because they helped you, but then you have to move to the high line because that’s the one that is moving. Usually you go into the race saying that you’re going to work with this guy or this guy, but in the end you have to look out for yourself. You just hope you are making the smartest moves and that on the last lap you’re going forward and looking for the lead. It’s a tough deal. You can’t worry about whether you are going to help the guy in front of you or not.
We have six more shots at a victory and I think my International MaxxForce team can win some races. We are capable of that, so hopefully we’ll get it done. That’s the most important thing.