Since my last diary four weeks ago, my Red Horse Racing team and I have had our ups and downs. The race at Mansfield was a great race for our No. 11 Toyota Tundra, and while we thought we were going to win the race, we were very fortunate that we finished second. It was pure racer’s luck. With four laps to go, while we were leading, the right front tire began going flat. A lot of people didn’t see that on TV, but with four laps to go I could feel the right front tire getting soft, and getting worse lap after lap. When I went into turn 1 after taking the white flag, the truck wouldn’t turn because by then the tire was completely flat. When eventual race winner Donny Lia got into me, I was already way up the racetrack in the center of the corner, where I shouldn’t have been, but the truck wouldn’t turn. I am confident that had we not had the problem with the tire, he would have never gotten to me and we would have won that race. Even when he got into me, it really wasn’t a big deal because we drag raced around the back straightaway, side-by-side. At a short track like Mansfield, if you are on the outside, you have the momentum coming off the corner. I really thought I could still win the race if my truck would turn, but going into 3 and in the center of turns 3 and 4, it just wouldn’t do it. He got underneath me and turned on the bottom and had me beat by a truck length. That never would have happened if my right front tire wasn’t flat. Some people may think what Lia did was a cheap shot, but knowing that my tire was going flat, I don’t believe that. It still doesn’t take away the disappointment, but it could have been much worse.
While we’ve had some good runs, like our second at Mansfield and our sixth at Dover the following weekend, we are still struggling on the big tracks, there is no doubt about it. We know we are, but it doesn’t make sense. At Texas we qualified seventh, but when the race started, the truck was very, very tight from the center off the corners. After about three or four pit stops we finally got the truck to the point where we could really start racing. We thought we were going to get a top 10, and the truck was definitely competitive as we worked our way to the top. Unfortunately, Ted Musgrave blew an engine and we got into his oil and crashed.
Last week at Michigan, we had a really good truck in practice that was a little tight, but really strong. The next day, when we qualified, it was very loose, and when the race started it was really, really loose. It doesn’t make sense because it wasn’t like that before. My crew chief Jamie Jones, owner Tom Deloach, myself and all of the guys in the shop are trying to figure out how to conquer these mile-and-a-half tracks. With the coil binding setups we are trying to run, it’s just complicated. We are trying to put our finger on it and we’ll keep digging as a team. We are going testing in Darlington in a couple of weeks, so we just need to try to figure out what’s going on with these last couple tracks.
While we didn’t have a very successful day on the track at MIS, it was still a very special day for me. I didn’t even know about it until after the race, but it was my 200th race in the Craftsman Truck Series. For me, it is quite an honor to have been in the Craftsman Truck Series for so long. Ever since I was a little boy, running around the racetrack with my dad who was a racer, this is just everything I’ve ever wanted to do. When I look back on the last several years, to be able to live my dream and be a part of the NASCAR family for 200 starts, I’m very thankful and blessed to be able to do this. I’ve been fortunate to get the opportunities I’ve had with the team owners who have given me this chance, and I’m very proud of that accomplishment and can’t wait for 200 more starts.
As I’ve said many, many times, I just love to race and I love everything about it. I love the competition, the noise, the smell, everything. There is no feeling like getting into the race truck and racing.
While we’ve been really busy racing, it hasn’t been all work. After we finished the race at Mansfield, my wife Kim and I flew to Indianapolis to watch the Indy 500 the next day with AJ Foyt. Foyt is my hero and a good friend, and it’s always fun to go back and visit with him. When I got to Indy, he was upset and disappointed that I lost the race at Mansfield, which he watched from the Indy garage. When I told him the situation he understood, but he wanted me to win, so that was kind of cool. But going to Indy was fun and relaxing for us. I’ve always been a fan of the Indianapolis 500, so I can never pass up an opportunity to go watch the race and hang out with a legend like Foyt.
Something else really cool that I’ve been able to do in the last few weeks was shoot a commercial for Texas Toyota. Bert King, who is a great friend and a great man with an awesome Toyota dealership in Grapevine, Texas, created the “Limited Edition David Starr Toyota Tundras.” He made five of them and four have already sold. It’s very sporty inside and out. It’s got a very unique look to it, some 1969 Camaro stripes down the center of the hood, a spoiler in the back on the tailgate, 22’’ wheels, leather interior, and my name on the back. It’s just sexy and very sporty. It’s just a neat deal to be a part of and a real honor. When he told me he made five of them, I was afraid he’d have a hard time selling them, but he’s already sold four so that’s pretty cool.
One of the things I am most excited about is that I finally have a fan club for all of my fans to join. My fans have been after me a long time to start up a fan club and it’s just an honor to have so many people wanting it. With help from my assistant Lisa Stanley, along with Kim and Samantha Jones, my crew chief’s wife and daughter, we’ve finally got a fan club. I think it’s done tastefully and I think it’s going to be great for the fans. I didn’t know much about fan clubs, so I needed some help with that and it was cool to have Kim and Samantha come in and take charge of it and show me how we needed to do it. It’s definitely a cool thing for our fans. They’ll get a quarterly newsletter, monthly 4×6 photographs, an autographed hero card, an official membership ID card, a DSFC (David Starr Fan Club) window decal, and they will be able to participate in contests throughout the year. So for all the fans who wanted to join a David Starr fan club, now you can.
For more information about the Official David Starr Fan Club, visit www.davidstarr.com and click on the “David Starr Fan Club” logo.