There has been some big news in my life since my last diary a month ago. As many of you may have heard during the last SPEED broadcast, my wife Kim and I are expecting our first child in the early spring. We are both really excited, and it’s a really cool thing for us. We love kids and have been looking forward to having our own – so right now, life is good. Luckily, Kim is feeling great right now. Our lives are definitely going to change, but we couldn’t be more excited.
One of the other exciting things that has been happening recently, as far as our Red Horse Racing team, is that we may finally be getting close to a possible second Craftsman Truck Series team. While there hasn’t been an announcement yet, it’s been no secret that we have been trying to expand our organization. Rick Gay has been hired by Red Horse Racing, and while he’s already a huge help for our No. 11 team, he has also been getting people hired for the possible second team. I’m sure there will be an announcement pretty soon, but right now they are just trying to get everything in place and situated. It’s a cool thing for me because I’m excited to have a teammate, and I think it’s going to be awesome for everyone at RHR.
As far as me and my team, I feel like we are on the right track. At Nashville, I really thought we had a second- or third-place truck, and maybe could have won the race. We qualified 17th, but we knew we had a fast hot rod. I moved all the way up to fourth and was running up there with the leaders and my lap times were great. Right there with 20 laps to go, we had to pit and put right side tires on, while other teams just pitted for fuel. Todd Bodine and Johnny Benson were right in front of me and I was trying to pass them, but I got loose. Then Ted Musgrave got around me and I had to pass him back, but he squeezed me a little getting into turn 3 and I almost spun out. I wrecked, but I didn’t hit anything, and we fell back big time. I feel we were fortunate to get back into the top 10 and not come into the garage on a wrecker. We passed some really competitive trucks all race, but the finishing results just don’t show how well our Toyota Tundra ran.
When you are out there, you just race hard and know that there are some people out there that use racing tactics to take the air off you to make you loose. I need to be a little smarter when it comes to the end of the race, and not let that happen to us. I feel it kind of took away the great finish we were going to have, but that’s racing. We have had really good, strong trucks, and Jamie Jones and the team have been working really hard on the coil binding deal. We are definitely going somewhere, so we are very excited about the upcoming races.
The next race on our schedule is tonight at Bristol. It’s kind of different to be racing on a Wednesday, but we’ve been doing it for awhile so we’re used to it. Plus, I love to race and I don’t care what day it is. There are positives and negatives to a mid-race week. It’s a little weird to be running in the middle of the week when you are used to running on a Friday or Saturday, but it’s usually great for our ratings. A lot of race fans are sitting at home Wednesday night, so they are going to tune into us. It’s also pretty cool because Jimmie Johnson will be racing with us in the Truck Series, driving for Randy Moss, so that’s really going to bring a lot of viewers in that don’t normally watch the Craftsman Truck Series. Some may think it’s weird to have the race in the middle of the week, but if you are in Bristol, it’s great. You have our race on Wednesday, they have a big race party downtown in Bristol on Thursday night, Friday night you have the Nationwide race and then Saturday is the Cup race.
As far as racing at Bristol, I love it. The track is awesome and it’s one of my favorites. With the track being newly concreted, there are so many different options. It isn’t like you’re stuck on the bottom and have to bump somebody out of the way to get anywhere. There are so many different options as far as what line you can take on the track. The concrete work has made the racing better, and I didn’t think it was possible. All in all, it’s pretty awesome.
We are going to be testing at Richmond, Virginia on Monday and Tuesday next week, so I think I’m going to stay in Bristol to catch the Cup and Nationwide Series’ races. It’s going to be a fun weekend. Like all the other fans, I’ll be watching from the stands, and hoping to learn a lot. With Bristol being down in a bowl, you’ve got to be up at the top to really see all the action. I’ve got my radio, so I’ll listen to the crews talk back and forth and hear what kind of adjustments they make, and if they work. If I’m going to stay there, I might as well do something productive. If I can pick something up to help our team in the future, I’m going to learn what I can learn and pay attention to what’s going on.
I feel just like the other fans when I’m watching from the stands. It’s so awesome up there. Obviously, it would be more exciting if I were actually running in the race, but since I’m not, I just love to watch because I’m also a race fan. I eat, sleep and live it, so if I’m not on the track, I still enjoy it.
With only 10 races left in the 2008 season, it’s always surprising to me how fast time flies – especially when you are doing something you love to do. It seems like just yesterday we were in Daytona getting ready to start the season, and now it’s nearing the end of summer and the end of another season. It is funny how time flies when you are having fun. It seems like it goes by so quick, but it’s been a fun season and I’m just trying to enjoy every day, because I’m so happy to be doing what I do.
We do still have 10 races left, which is 10 more opportunities for me and my team to get into victory lane and to move up even more in the points. We have come so far, I know it’s just a matter of time and I will be surprised if we don’t visit victory lane this season. We are definitely doing everything we can to make that happen. And I can’t think of a better place for that to happen than Bristol!!!