The last time I stopped by, we were on our way to Texas with the point lead. That didn’t last very long. We had a great truck at Texas and I was trying to take the win back to Ozona, Texas, for Tom Mitchell, the owner of the team, and to the Ford people because the F-150 is the number one selling truck in Texas. It ran good, but we just had a tire get cut down. We still finished on the lead lap and I think we were 20th or 21st, somewhere along in there (Editor’s note: Rick finished 21st in Texas) but we had a great truck and the win just slipped away from us.
At Milwaukee, we sat on the outside pole, second fastest in qualifying, and had a really good truck there. I think I had the truck to beat. I made a mistake and got caught speeding on pit road and that cost us the race, but we ended up eighth with a top-10 run.
We had one of the best runs we’ve had in years at Memphis. Our crew chief Kevin Starland and his wife Rhonda put on a great feed while we were there at their farm in Memphis. We qualified sixth or seventh and ended up fourth that night with a good run there in Elvis’s hometown. I think they are going to do that Elvis trophy one more year, so I have one more shot at it. Ron Hornaday dominated the race and was the truck to beat this year. Sometimes the fastest truck doesn’t always win but that night it did.
While I was in Memphis, I was able to support and go by and visit the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I was very impressed with that and the things that they can do for kids. I learned an astonishing number. When St. Jude’s Hospital was started, it was a 4% rate of cure for children and now it’s a 94% rate of cure for children. It’s pretty amazing. It takes $1.2 million per day to keep that hospital running. It sure got my attention. It helps great kids at no cost to their parents at all. You can bet I’ll be writing a check to St. Jude’s and I wish race fans and other racers would do that, too.
We had a nice July 4th holiday. I had Adam over for a steak dinner and that was pretty neat. We did some testing last week at Darlington and we’re getting ready to go to Kentucky and the Built Ford Tough 225. We’d like to be ready and try to pull that race out for the Ford guys.
Before I head to Kentucky this week, I’ve got a meeting with the city planners in Montgomery, Ala. I’m trying to buy a racetrack there. If we can get it under a city permit to open it back up since it’s been closed for a few years, Rick Crawford will try his first venture into promoting a racetrack. I’d like to give it a shot. This is something I’ve been looking forward to doing for the past 10 years. I’ve got an idea and the track has potential. It’s been there for over 50 years, running NASCAR tradition racing, and I’m looking forward to opening it back up if the city will approve it. It’s a half-mile high-banked oval. I look forward to having all my NASCAR friends and fans coming to join us sometime in Montgomery, Ala.
One last thing I’d like to say is we’ve had too many deaths lately in the racing community and among personal friends, and I’d like to take a little bit of this space to give to some friends of racing and friends that have helped me; to Tim Huff from Mobile, Alabama, who was killed in an accident at the Alabama State Docks, Bob Germain, the father of the owner of Germain Racing who passed away, and Scott Kalitta, the racer who just passed away. Everyone knows Connie Kalitta, and his son Scott passed away after a drag racing accident at Englishtown, N.J. Also just recently General Thomas Sadler of the Air Force, who is a great friend to everyone at Speedway Children’s Charities at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, lost his wife. We seem to live a life on the edge and sometimes our loved ones pass away, and you just want to let people know you’re thinking about them and your heart goes out to them.