First off, I have to say that things are going quite well in my first week of marriage. Amanda and I tied the knot over the off-weekend and everything worked out well. The weather was good, which was important because it was an outside ceremony. We’ll have to wait a little bit for our honeymoon though, which will be the next off-weekend in August. We’ll be going to the Caribbean, so I’m looking forward to that.
As far as racing goes, we can’t seem to get a break lately, but at least we were running well, that is the important thing. First we had the run-in with my Cup teammate Brian Vickers in the Nationwide race, but for all practical purposes, that is now a non-issue, which is a good thing. Then a few weeks later, we had a great early run going at Chicago until we had a really bad second set of tires. That segment on those tires happened to come during a long green flag to the point where we made green-flag pit stops. So we went the entire full fuel run on that set and it cost us a lap. From there, we had to start in the back of the field and ended up going another lap down. Eventually, we got ourselves sorted out, got a lap back and were competitive through the rest of the race, just like we were at the start. We just lost so much track position in that second stint with those tires that it cost us a lot. Then, as usual, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time when we wrecked.
Despite the tough outings of late, I still try to make sure that I have some time for fun to keep my spirits up. You may remember a few months ago, Amanda and I went to Sea World and we were supposed to go to Discovery Cove after that to swim with the dolphins, but we were rained out. So we rescheduled the trip before Daytona and this time, Kyle Busch and his girlfriend Sam were able to join us. We’re all pretty good friends and it ended up being a really nice, relaxing mini-vacation before the race. At the cove, they actually trained the dolphins to race with us riding them. Kyle and I had a really tight race, so close that I couldn’t tell you who won because I haven’t seen the film yet! I think they gave him the faster dolphin though. There was a weight limit and mine was just a little heavier.
After racing the dolphins, Kyle and I turned our attention to racing in the Grand-Am series at Daytona, which was awesome, despite encountering bad luck there as well. It was a little more difficult for Kyle because it was something he had never done before. It was a style of racing much more similar to what I have done in the past. So he struggled with the same things during that race that I struggle with in my quest to become a NASCAR driver. But Kyle is an amazingly talented young man and he picked up a lot in a short period of time. We got really unlucky with our driver change and as a result went about a lap down. When it was my turn to start driving, we were about half a track behind a whole group of cars. We ended up catching a bunch of them and passing a few of them, enough to finish 10th. It was a good experience for us and if we ever get the opportunity to do it again or the 24-hour race there, I would do it. It was good to get that seat time and we both really enjoyed it for sure.
The Danica Patrick rumors have been swirling like crazy this year. I have to say that as someone who has made the jump from open wheel, I think it would be impossible for Danica to go right into Sprint Cup. If Dario Franchitti, who is leading the IndyCar championship right now couldn’t do it, why would she be able to? For me, the closest thing you can compare this situation to is Franchitti and his effort last year. He seems to be winning races over there but had the same problems here in NASCAR that all of us encountered during the transition from open wheel racing. So I don’t see why it would be any different for her. I came up through the ARCA series, which was good for me, but it basically all comes down to what kind of connections you have with what teams and what possibilities come up.
I hope you all have been enjoying your summer so far. I know I have, off the track anyway. But I know things will turn around soon on the track. If you continue to run well, as we have, sooner or later, the results will match the effort. Thanks for your continued support and keep rooting for our Red Bull Racing team!