After being off for a couple of weeks, we are finally back to racing again. As always, I’ve kept busy. David Starr Racing, my show car simulator company, has taken up a lot of my time, and we went testing for two days at Darlington a couple of weeks ago, so that was pretty cool. I was also able to enjoy the 4th of July with my family at the lake, and that was a lot of fun. While I have enjoyed my time off, I am definitely looking forward to getting back to what I love to do, which is racing.
We are definitely excited about being in Kentucky. Our recent fifth-place run at Memphis was a great momentum builder for our team. It was good to be back into the top five where we belong. Our Toyota Tundra was awesome and my crew chief Jamie Jones gave me a good truck. The guys had great pit stops and made good adjustments during the race, so we actually had a better truck than our fifth-place finish showed. Our main problem was that we were having a little issue getting into the corner, where we couldn’t really get the truck to slow down, so we dealt with that all night. But all-in-all, it was not a bad finish.
Our biggest struggles this year have come on the mile-and-a-half tracks. After our test at Darlington last weekend, we are pretty excited about the Kentucky race. We had a great run at Kansas earlier in the year and we have an identical truck that are we are bringing to Kentucky. Red Horse Racing has always been successful here, and I’ve been pretty decent here over the years, so we are looking forward to using what we learned from Darlington and plug that into this new truck. If we can come out of here with a top-five finish, then it will show that our mile-and-a-half program is improving.
We are always looking to make the trucks drive better and we’ve done a really good job of improving the trucks and making them comfortable, to where I can drive them. We feel like anything a mile and under we have it nailed down pretty good, set-up wise. We feel confident that we are heading in the right direction for the larger tracks, and are going to work hard to accomplish our goals and make our mile-and-a-half trucks better.
We are heading into the mid-point of the season, and all-in-all, I think it has gone pretty good. We had really high expectations when we got back together, coming into the ‘08 season. We have gone through a bit of growing pains in this first half of the year, but I think its going really, really good. We definitely haven’t lived up to our expectations, and I really believe strongly that we should be in the top 10. However, some unfortunate luck and bad results at some of the mile-and-a-half tracks have put us in the situation we are in. Everybody’s attitude is good and everyone is working hard, and we look to be a lot stronger and to get more top-five finishes, and hopefully a couple of wins by the time we get to Homestead. We all really have a great attitude and are excited about the second part of the season.
We are also heading into some of the hottest races of the season. Being from Texas, I’m used to the heat. As a racecar driver, you know that you have to fight all of the different elements that you are put under. One of the things I do to get more accustomed to the heat in the truck is to train during the day, when it’s hot outside. I try to run and workout outside when it’s really, really hot, to train my body, just in case. Some of these races we get into, around the end of July and into early August, it can be really, really warm in these trucks. As a driver and an athlete, I don’t want to let my team or myself down, so it doesn’t matter if it’s 20 degrees outside or 120 degrees in the truck, I am going to be on top of my game. I don’t think the heat this summer will be issue for myself or my team.