We’ve really had some good finishes in both series the last few weeks, and I’m excited to be a part of Michael Waltrip Racing. We brought home a top 10 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which was a career best for me at the Sprint Cup level. A 10th-place finish for that event – which is a very tough race – proves the capabilities of this race team. We just need to start doing that on a more consistent basis, and soon we’ll be in the situation where we’ll be finishing in the top five.
Nashville is one of my favorite racetracks that we run on in the Nationwide Series, and we almost brought home a victory last Saturday night. I really didn’t want to see that caution there at the end. Once the No. 2 car got under us, there was nothing more I could do. Still, I was really proud of the guys on the Aaron’s Dream Machine team, they put us in position to win and that’s all I can ask of them.
Speaking of the Nationwide race, a lot of people wonder how I handle all the traveling that is associated with double duty weekends – such as the one with Nashville and Pocono. To tell you the truth, adjusting to the two different cars is actually a bigger challenge than the travel itself. Everyone at MWR plans out the logistics to the point where all I have to do is get on a helicopter or someone’s private plane, take a nap, and then get on another helicopter to go to the track. It’s a lot of fun, and I feel like a rock star with all the planes and helicopters. Just no limos; we don’t have any of those!
I got to race in the Prelude to the Dream a few weeks ago and came home 11th. While it wasn’t the win I was hoping for, I sure did have a lot of fun. Tony Stewart and everyone at Eldora Speedway do a phenomenal job. As for the driving, I couldn’t believe how much the suspension and technology has changed on those cars in the last few years since I’ve been in it on a regular basis. You need to drive those cars hard every single lap, and I applaud those guys that do it on a weekly basis.
We’ve really made great strides at MWR and the team is doing a fantastic job. We still have a lot of work to do, however, as I would definitely like to be further inside the Top 35 than we are right now. I know it will happen in due time, though. When you go into the shop and see the different pieces of equipment and different engineers that they keep bringing to our cars to make them better, you can’t help but get excited.
We are going to Michigan this weekend. We had a really good run there last year, and so did Michael. We finished 15th and he finished 10th in the June race. So, we’re looking forward to racing there this weekend and building on our top-20 finish last weekend.
Thursday night before we arrive in Michigan, we are taking a detour to race in the NASCAR Night race at Macon Speedway in Illinois. We are racing dirt modifieds, which is something I love to do. Michael McDowell, Josh Wise, Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader, Dave Blaney, Jason Leffler and a bunch more are racing along with me. It’s the second annual event and Tony [Stewart], Ken and Kenny – along with Macon Speedway – put on a great event.
Thanks for your support, and continue to look for good things from the No. 44 UPS Toyota and the No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine!