Since the last diary, there have been a lot of changes for our Red Horse Racing team. At the end of September, Zachry Holdings Inc. joined our team as our primary sponsor for the rest of the 2008 season. I am so excited to have them on board. Zachry Holdings Inc. is an engineering construction company that is dedicated to the planning, building and renewing of our world’s most critical industrial facilities. They have over 25,000 employees nationwide and are just a really great, family company. Everyone at Red Horse Racing is excited to have them as a part of our family, and to have their name on our No. 11 Toyota Tundra. What’s really cool for us is that their No. 1 goal is their commitment to safety, and that really fits what we do in the Craftsman Truck Series. Obviously we are always trying to beat our competitors and get that extra edge, but one of the top priorities is safety.
One of their philosophies is that “It takes a force.” In order for them to be successful and do their jobs, it takes a collaborative force of engineers, welders, pipe fitters, electricians, etc. to complete a job and do it right, and that’s also where we are similar. In order to make our team successful and to accomplish anything in this business, teamwork is a definite must. Everyone has to work together to get the trucks ready, get them competitive, and get us to the front on race day. That’s another reason why this sponsorship is perfect.
I have had a relationship with the VP of Zachry Holdings Inc. for several years. My team owner, Tom DeLoach, Ron Linkous, who works in our PR department, and I went down to San Antonio, Texas to show him what we had to offer and how well we would all fit together. Thankfully, it just worked out. It has been a homerun from the beginning and has been good for them and for us. We are really hoping they love what we have to offer and what they see in the Craftsman Truck Series, and decide to continue on with us beyond 2008. We’ve talked about it some, but we all wanted to do the last six races and then talk during the winter. I am definitely excited about the possibilities. It’s just really big for our racing team, especially in this economic climate. This partnership is exactly what we need to move to the next level.
They have definitely kept me busy since coming on board. Just this week I went to one of their job sites in Winslow, Arizona and had a chance to talk to some 250 of their employees. I got to talk to them about teamwork and safety, and then sign some autographs. It was a lot of fun for me and it’s interesting, in terms of safety, how they are wearing safety harnesses, hard hats, uniforms, and gloves, and it’s very similar to what I wear in the truck. Next week, when we go to Homestead, I’ll get the opportunity to visit a few more job sites, which I’m excited about. Zachry and RHR together are definitely a good fit and I am honored to represent them.
One of the other big changes for our team in the last couple of weeks has been Rick Gay as my crew chief. He has been great and brings a lot of knowledge to our team. He has been getting the truck up to speed because we kind of felt like we got behind. With his expertise we are making a lot of changes to our Toyota Tundras and getting them competitive again. We definitely feel we are making progress and taking big steps in the right direction.
Although we feel our trucks have been getting better, we know we aren’t as good as we need to be. Yes, we’ve had some bad luck in several of our last few races, but we should be running better and not putting ourselves in that position. A lot of times we make our own luck, so we are working hard to be a top-running team.
Right now we are 12th in the points and 96 points out of 10th. While we will do everything we can to get into the top 10 in the next two races, I don’t know if it’s really a reasonable goal or not. We are running Phoenix tonight, then Homestead, and we will do the best we can do – as always. If we don’t make the top 10, it will be disappointing for us, but we are doing what we can. As always, we will work hard during the winter, do our testing, and get back to where we used to be. You just can’t give up, and have to keep your hope, desire and heart. The competition is really tough, but hopefully by the end of the year we’ll be in the top 10 in points.
Speaking of Phoenix, Thursday was a very busy day at the track. With the race being on Friday, we had just one day and two sessions to practice. Unfortunately, our Zachry Toyota Tundra was just okay. It is definitely not where we need to be to be competitive, so we have our work cut out for us. We have decided to change pretty much everything on the truck, so honestly, we wont have any idea how the truck will handle until during the actual race. It’s going to be challenging, but I am confident that we will get the truck handling the way I need it.
Probably one of the biggest changes since my last diary – and not just for me but everyone in the series – is that we have a new series sponsor coming in 2009. After 13 years and being with us from the very beginning, Craftsman made the decision not to return as our series sponsor in 2009. There are no words to say how thankful and grateful we are for what they have done for our sport and our series. They have helped so much to grow the series from where it started, and they have gotten us to where we are today. We grew up together and it’s sad to know that it won’t be the Craftsman Truck Series anymore. But it’s bitter sweet, because we are very excited about having Camping World as our new Truck Series sponsor. It is great that they have stepped in to help us grow the sport, but they have big shoes to fill. Hopefully they can take it to the next it to level.
And while I am sad that this season is almost at an end, I definitely have a lot to look forward to next year. We will be welcoming a little boy into our family sometime in April, and it’s definitely a blessing. My wife, Kim, and I are looking forward to that part of our lives. So there are a lot of really cool things coming up in the future, and I couldn’t be more excited. With the possibility of long-term support for our team, and a beautiful baby – it couldn’t be better!!