It’s been three weeks since we raced at Atlanta, and I can’t wait to get back into the truck this weekend at Martinsville. As many of you may remember, two years ago I was able to drive my Red Horse Racing Toyota to victory there. But that was then. Even though we won at Martinsville in 2006, I don’t look at this race any differently than I do any other race. I go into this weekend’s race at Martinsville just like I went into Atlanta and California – knowing we can win. I try not to harp on the win two years ago because a lot has changed since then. We’ve got splitters on the trucks now, we have a different gear rule, they took a little power out of the engines, and the truck is totally different from the one we ran there a couple of years ago.
I’m excited to be with Red Horse Racing and to go back to Martinsville because I love to race, just like I’ll be excited to go back to Kansas a few weeks later. We have such a good program at Red Horse Racing. I feel honored that I get to sit in one of their trucks and go racing every week, because I know they are giving me every opportunity to win. That’s exactly what we’re going to do at Martinsville this week. We participated in the Craftsman Truck Series’ recent two-day open test there and it went pretty good for us, so we are hopeful that this will be a good race for our No. 11 Toyota Tundra.
This is only our fourth race of the season, and so far I can say we are pleased with the direction our team is heading. Daytona was a great race for us, but the following races at California and Atlanta haven’t been as good. At California, we had a great truck, but we had a little problem that kept us from the finish we wanted. In the end, we learned from it. As for Atlanta, we just weren’t very good. There really is no other way to say it. However, we are learning more every week, and Jamie Jones, myself, and the team are using more technology on the setups and doing everything we can to go out there and continue to race competitively. During our break between Martinsville and Kansas, we are going to go test at Pocono and see what we can learn there. I think you will see the performances of the Red Horse Racing team improving a lot over the next few races. All-in-all, the season hasn’t been bad, but it hasn’t lived up to the expectations we set at the beginning of the year. With that said, I have no doubts that we are moving in that direction.
This is the hardest part of the season for me. It always starts off a little slow for the Craftsman Truck Series, with us only competing every few weeks. In my off-time, I’ve been concentrating on David Starr Racing – my promotional showcar and simulator business – and that has kept me extremely busy. I’ve also spent at little time down the Team Texas Driving School at the Texas Motor Speedway. And while I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like, one of the neatest things I like to do when I have a chance is to race my buddies’ dirt car. I’ve raced it once in the last few weeks and I’m looking forward to hopefully running it more after Martinsville.
Also, at Red Horse Racing we are currently running without a sponsor, but we would really like to change that. When we aren’t at the track, Tom DeLoach, Jeff Hammond, and myself spend a lot of time talking to people and companies about partnering up with us and providing sponsorship for our team. I spend a lot of time visiting with friends that work for companies or visiting with different people, so I’ve been getting involved in that area, too. There is never a dull moment, even when we’re not racing.
While racing is a huge part of my life, I also enjoy getting back home to Texas and our four acres. My wife Kim and I like to spend time with our two boxers, Harley and Daisy, and I enjoy mowing the yard, working in the flower beds, and doing things around the house. I also get to catch up on my “Honey Do’s.” When I get back home from my racing, particularly during the summer, my “Honey Do” list is pretty long, but for me it’s a lot of fun working around my yard and doing stuff like that.
And while my wife likes having me home so I can attack that to-do list, after a week or two of being home, even she is ready to get back to the racetrack. She’s been doing it with me for a couple of years now, and she really enjoys being at the race track and the competition side of things. As a racer, you like a week off here and there, but when have two to three weeks off at a time, you can get pretty antsy. If I had it my way, the Craftsman Truck Series would race every weekend – but nobody asked me.
For me, there really never is an “off-week”, even when we haven’t been racing. But I always look forward to getting back in the truck. While I would love to be racing every week, the time off that we do have is good for the race team, because they can build more trucks, it gives us more time to get our equipment prepared, and we also get to do some testing, so that’s a good thing. It also allows them to be able to spend more time with their own families. But, I am a racer and I miss the competition of the Craftsman Truck Series, so I’m looking forward to getting back to it at Martinsville.
Even though sometimes we have such a long layoff between races, the moment I get back into the truck – whether we’ve raced back-to-back weekends or have a month in between – I am extremely focused when it comes to racing. Our team is equally focused and dedicated, so there is no adjustment period. As a professional, you can never lose the intensity, focus and desire to race. You have to keep that burning desire inside of you at all times, where you can’t wait to get back to the race track because you want to win. As a competitor, if you ever lose the intensity and desire you probably need to do something different. For me, that always burns within me, whether I’ve got two months off or back-to-back races, and my team is no different. They are extremely dedicated and put a lot of their hearts and souls into our program. For a team as a whole to be successful, everyone has to have the same drive, dedication and the passion for the sport. At Red Horse Racing, we definitely have all of that.