I had a really good time in Daytona. It was fun for me, driving the motorhome down to Ocala. We won some races in Ocala and then we went over to Volusia. We were like a traveling dirt team – like the old days – setting the motorhome up and just feeling normal again.
Then we started 2009 off with a really competitive run and finished 16th in the Nationwide Series race at Daytona. Of course I was completely worn out after 100 hours of Speed TV. We did a lot of TV – it felt like we did a year’s worth of TV at Daytona! We also did the Sit With Kenny campaign. We sold out the section, so that was a really big success. I look for other teams to follow up with something like that to help sell some tickets. They reduced the tickets to $55 down there, so it was really good.
So we went from dirt racing, to Speed TV, to finishing 16th in the Nationwide race in the Border Patrol car, to Sit With Kenny – it was a really solid, fun trip.
The really crazy thing was that after the Daytona 500, I went home on Monday for about five hours. Then at 4:30 Monday afternoon, I took off – I had to leave the house at 3:00 – so I was home about five hours. Since January 23, I have been home for five hours and I’m still on the go.
We went to New Orleans for the Border Patrol. They had a nice convention about how to recruit agents, and they introduced the racing program. It was a lot of fun. It was also Mardi Gras, and that was a lot of fun. Some of those people are crazy – and when I say crazy I mean crazy! It was a good thing we got out of the way, because some guy with a gun started shooting. It seems like we got out of New Orleans in the nick of time.
Then we went on to California. To save money, we flew into Las Vegas. I met Kim in Vegas and we rented a car and drove out to California. That seemed to be the new craze this year. Everybody got rental cars and drove to California, and then when the race was over in California, everybody drove back here to Vegas for the rest of the week. Richard Petty Motorsports saved $50,000 by not firing up their airplanes for the extra week. There is a big phenomenon in NASCAR where the teams are really trying to be frugal, and my team is too.
So I met Kim in Vegas, and we had a really nice ride – a really scenic view. We took Highway 15 from Las Vegas to California and we got to see everything. We raced in California and I had a really tough time with the racecar. From the time we unloaded, we had motor problems and it just didn’t go good. We had an axle break during the race and we ended up seven laps down and had to go behind the pit wall to fix the car.
The Monday after California was a really exciting day. We made a short story – we made a three to five story based on the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It’s kind of a cult movie; it’s been a round for a while. The story we did was about me, Jimmy Spencer and John Roberts driving from California to Las Vegas in a convertible. It’s going to be on NASCAR Raceday before the Las Vegas race.
We found the most desolate place and we had this convertible, and I play the character of Johnny Depp from the movie. We had two police officers, and they blocked off the highway. We had the highway shut down for about 20 minutes at a time. It was a fun experience!
I had something happen to me that hasn’t happened in a long time; I got a speeding ticket. I was going 87 in a 70 mph zone, out in the middle of the desert. We had gone over to see my niece, Nikki, who is in the Marines, in a town called 29 Palms. On the way back, it was about 10 o’clock at night, and I was going too fast and got a ticket. I have to figure out how to take care of it. It’s the first ticket I’ve gotten in about four years.
We’re in Vegas now, and after everything that has gone on, I just want to have a really good run on Saturday. If I could wish anything right now, that’s what I’d want. I’d like to match my Daytona run of 16th if not better. We’re 17th in the points right now and I really don’t want to fall out of the top 20. I want to keep my team where we have a good parking spot for our tractor trailer – they line the trailers up according to points, and I want to keep our truck as far up in the line as we can!