It has been a frustrating few weeks for myself and my Red Horse Racing team. My No. 11 Toyota Tundra has been awesome and we’ve been running top 10, but at both Bristol and Gateway, we were involved in wrecks that ruined our potential top-10 finishes. It seems we’ve had this monkey on our backs recently and it’s tough.
At Bristol, it was a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We were running seventh and making our way to the front when an accident ahead of us took us out, too. At Gateway, it was another strong run for my Toyota Tundra and I feel I definitely had a top-five truck. Basically, it was just hard racing between myself and Rick Crawford. He had the momentum so he was a little bit ahead of me. Coming off turn 2, at the last minute he seemed to come off the corner and off the wall, and touched the front of my truck just slightly. Instead of running into him, I tried to avoid him and turned the wheel a little to the left. Unfortunately, it didn’t take much, so when he hit my front end the truck swapped ends on me and I ended up hitting the inside wall. I’m just disappointed that, once again, our finishing results don’t show how good our No. 11 RHR truck has been running.
But that is in the past, and I’m excited about going on to New Hampshire. It’s kind of similar to Gateway, so even though we didn’t finish that race, it’s still going to help us. Before we went to Gateway, we changed our truck setups completely, without actually working on them at the shop. My new crew chief, Rick Gay, and my crew were able to work on some stuff after Gateway that we think will make the truck a lot better for this race. We are really excited about the rest of the year and we are learning a lot.
As I mentioned, Rick Gay is my new crew chief. I don’t really like change, but sometimes change is good. I think the change will be very beneficial for the entire Red Horse Racing organization. I’m excited about working with Rick Gay and look forward to being a more consistent, top-five team. I think it’s going to be good for our whole organization.
While I’m focused and excited about racing at New Hampshire, I’m also keeping an eye on what’s going on down in Texas with Hurricane Ike. Growing up in Houston, I’ve been through four or five hurricanes myself and I know they are nothing you want to get used to. The memories I have of them aren’t very pleasant – losing power, flooding rains, high winds and being stuck inside while the cleanup happens.
It’s just scary to think about, because I have a lot of family members and friends still in Houston. My wife, myself, and several members of my family just spent Labor Day weekend down in Galveston and it’s been one of my favorite place since I was a kid. It’s sad to know that it’s going to get hit with a major hurricane and that many of the places and scenery may be ruined. But while the thought of these places being destroyed or damaged is sad, the main thing is that nobody gets hurt or killed. You can fix property and stuff, but can’t replace lives. I’m very happy to see the way that everyone is evacuating and heading for safer ground, instead of staying around and risking their safety. My thoughts and prayers are with everybody down there this weekend and I’ll definitely be paying attention to what’s going on in my hometown.
But I also have a job to focus on, and that’s what I plan on doing this weekend at Loudon. With the new changes for the team and at the shop, I really believe we can win a couple of races before Homestead. We tested at Richmond two weeks ago so hopefully that test will pay off for us in the coming races. I’m really looking forward to the last part of the season, because I think my team and I can do great things.