We’ve had a few races since the last time I was here, so I’ll try to get you all caught up on what we’ve been up to this season. For Martinsville, it was my first time going there, so I’d never seen that racetrack before. We didn’t really have a good truck all weekend long and struggled quite a bit. After all the rain and the thunderstorms we had there, we couldn’t even race until Monday. But we finally got it in and finished 11th, so we were pretty happy with our finish because of how crazy of a weekend we had. I didn’t think we were good enough to finish 11th, so to come out that well, I was pretty proud of the guys for that.
After that, we went to Kansas and it was another one of those crazy weather weekends. We took a new truck there, so we were actually a lot better than what we had at Atlanta and California. We qualified pretty decent and were up running in the top five and top 10. But we got shuffled back right before the race got called for rain and couldn’t finish where we deserved to. We finished 12th there, but we definitely had a better truck than that – it was just a rain-shortened race. It was a pretty crazy weekend, with tornados and everything postponing it until Monday again.
We moved on to Charlotte, and took the same truck there that we had at Kansas. The truck was really good, and we practiced better than we’d practiced all year and qualified in the top 10 – in eighth. We were up running in the top five and top 10 again all night long. We were running about sixth with 30 to go when David Starr was passing on the bottom in turns 1 and 2, and we got so close to him that all the air sucked it around. We got spun around, but didn’t hit anything. However, the truck never really handled the same after that. It got real tight and we couldn’t get it back to where we were, so we ended up finishing 12th again.
So, I don’t think we’ve really been having the finishes we deserve to get. We haven’t really improved on our finishing positions, but we’ve improved on our overall performance as a team. We’ll keep trying to get our stuff better and get our equipment better, and I feel like every time I go to the racetrack and drive a truck, I learn a little bit more. I don’t have a lot of seat time in these things, so I’ll keep learning and keep improving.
Dover was a long and terrible weekend. It was not good. We didn’t practice very well. We struggled, although we finally got the truck halfway decent at the very end. When we went out to qualify, the truck was real loose, so we qualified 17th which wasn’t really where we expected to qualify because we were 12th in practice. I expected to qualify in the top 10, but we just had a really loose truck. It was downhill from there. At the beginning of the race, we played pit strategy a little bit. We knew we were having a competition yellow because of the tire problems they’d been having all weekend. When the caution came out five or 10 laps before that, we came in and put tires on since you can’t take fuel and tires at the same time. That way, when the competition yellow came out, all we had to do was pit for fuel and not have to come back in a second time to get tires. It gave us some track position, and we got up to about fifth or sixth.
But when we came in for the fuel, we made a wedge adjustment that I didn’t know about until we were going back to green. It was a miscommunication in the pit, and the truck got real tight; we wound up having to run the high line, which wasn’t real good for the tire wear problem we having all weekend. I ended up blowing out the right front as the caution was coming out. It tore apart the right front fender and the right-front tire was flat, the sway bar broke, and we had a whole bunch of issues. We lost a lap repairing it in the pits, but we got back out there. I don’t know how many laps later it was but the whole right front of the truck, on the inside of the truck, caught on fire so I had to get the thing stopped. Then, I had to go to the infield care center and do that whole deal because I didn’t drive the truck back to the pits. When I came out of the care center, I had to go get back in the truck because they had it fixed and waiting for me in the garage. We went back racing, even though we were 38 or 39 laps down, because if someone else fell out of the race we thought we might be able to pick up a couple of positions. All in all, it was a pretty bad weekend.
I’m excited to go to Texas this weekend. I’m on my way there right now; I’m driving through Mississippi. I drove down this week. My family lives close to there and I’m planning on moving my things out of my parents’ house while I’m there, so it’s kind of convenient. As far as the race goes, I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve never actually been on the mile and a half at Texas Motor Speedway. I grew up 30 or 35 minutes from there in Plano, Texas. I went to school in Plano school district from kindergarten through 11th grade. It’s where I’m from, where I grew up, and it’s where I started racing. The first time I ever drove a racecar was on the fifth-mile Little Texas Motor Speedway out in the parking lot outside turn 3 of the big speedway. I’m pretty excited to get back there. I’ve raced on every track there except the mile and a half, and I’ve actually won on every track there except the mile and a half. I’ve got four out of five, so hopefully we’ll get five out of five either now or at the second race this year.
As for my other activities, I went ARCA racing for the second time this year at Kentucky the week before Charlotte and won the second ARCA race that I started this year. I’m two for two in the ARCA Series. I won both races I’ve run so far this year. I’m planning to go to Michigan next week and do double duty running in ARCA and the truck, so hopefully we’ll go three for three in ARCA and try to win a truck race here before too long. We’ll be pretty busy racing here coming up. We have five weeks in a row that started with Dover… so that will pretty much take up all of my time.