As most people know by now, I have been given the opportunity to drive in the Sprint Cup Series this year and I could not be more excited. I always knew that I was going to get the chance to race at the Cup level and I’m glad they’ve given me some time to get here. Actually, I will have to wait one more week before making my debut, as I am not yet approved by NASCAR to drive in a restrictor-plate race. I’m really not sure how that works and we could probably push it if we wanted to, but there are many other things to consider. So we’ll just wait an extra week until I get behind the wheel of the No. 82 Camry. Following that, I’ll be in the No. 84 car for the rest of the year.
I’m going to have the opportunity to race on all different types of tracks to finish out the season, but I’m looking forward the most to Charlotte since it’s the next race, not to mention the fact that a driver’s debut in the nation’s top series is always special. We also were very pleased by the way the test went there a couple weeks ago. Finishing second on the speed charts was way over our expectations… I think that blew everyone away.
Overall, things have been going as expected. The car is very competitive and I think I’m driving competitively. This is a great way to enter the sport rather than struggling trying to qualify every week. From here on out, I’m just going to keep an open mind and take things as they come. To tell you the truth, as a racecar driver, I’ve learned never to have any goals or expectations because the only time you really get pissed off is when you don’t meet them.
I had my first road race in an ARCA car this past weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park. I’m used to making both the left and right turns in an open-wheel car, but honestly, racing is racing and it doesn’t matter if you’re behind the wheel of a golf cart, NASCAR or a Formula 1 car. As a driver, I feel the same joy when I win, no matter what I’m doing. Speaking of winning, we should have taken the checkers in first at New Jersey, maybe second at the very worst, but we had to settle for eighth which was a disaster after running over a hose; it’s a pretty stupid move to make. But it’s ARCA, which is a very amateur series. Whether I win or not is never going to impact my career. I just like to do it for my guys and of course, the learning experience.
Speaking of experience, when you are busy testing and running all over the country getting seat time in these things, it becomes very hard to find much time for yourself. I can’t remember when the last time was that I played a round of golf and that includes virtual and the real thing. The competitive juices never stop flowing when I am away from the racetrack though. When I do have time off, it’s normally spent with my very close friends and family playing Scrabble or any type of game together that is competitive. Ironically, I actually prefer not to win at something. For example, I really don’t like playing those racing games on PlayStation, because it’s not a challenge since I’m actually really good at them. I like playing stuff like Scrabble with my girlfriend and my family because I’m really bad at it, so it gives me an opportunity to push myself and make myself better.
I’ll be bringing the same attitude of pushing myself to the limit to the Sprint Cup Series in a few weeks, and I’ll be sure to tell you guys about my first races in the big leagues next month!