Well, Atlanta marked one of the first races without my crew chief, Chris Rice. I went down there with an open mind and ready to go. We had a lot of problems. The car was bottoming out really badly. The car was hitting the left-side jack post, hitting the cross-member. We never did get going. Historically…I tell people, look, I love Atlanta, but I have a tough time there. I think I’ve only run good at Atlanta a couple of times. I had a good Cup run there where I ran in the top 10, a good Nationwide run there, but Atlanta and I don’t get along. It was a pretty rough race on us and we just did not run good at all.
Richmond was incredibly disappointing. I went to Richmond for my 800th NASCAR start and had very high hopes. I was taking what I consider to be the best car we’ve run this year – the car that we ran 10th with in Indianapolis and seventh with at Newton, Iowa. We went to Richmond and had problems. We ran the race, got lapped three times – it’s still incredibly disappointing to talk about it now. That’s a racetrack I totally understand and know what I need. After it was all said and done and we got back to the shop, we came to find out that when we were doing maintenance on that car after Bristol, somebody put the right front lower A-frame together backwards. So, when I went to Richmond, the car was binding up – the right front spring was hitting the spring bucket. It didn’t turn out well at all. It was a race where I had high hopes for the weekend and it didn’t turn out well.
At Dover, we ended up three laps down and finished 20th. We were behind on the tires. It was a completely different tire, and I was really loose from the time we unloaded, and I never did get the handle on it. So I guess I can say in this diary that we’ve had a really rough month! We’re trying to overcome losing my crew chief, Chris Rice. It’s no secret that we’re not running anywhere near as good as we were when we had Chris, but we’ll overcome it. We’ll keep working on it, and we’ll make things better. One thing we’re looking forward to is a new car for Kansas. We have a new engineer named Chris Dietrich. Hopefully we’ll get things turned around with Chris.
My 25th anniversary with my wife was something I was really excited to do. It was my idea – in the winter I was watching Snoop Dogg’s Family Reunion and Snoop Dogg said, “I love my wife and we’re going to renew our vows,” and I’m still in love with my wife and I love her more than anything in the world, and I thought it was just a brilliant idea to do it. It took Kim about two weeks to be comfortable with it and to find a date. We had the time of our lives! We had 300 of our best friends at the reception. We danced and we sang and it was really a lot of fun. It was really neat getting remarried under the Gateway Arch, and we duplicated everything we did when we got married.
Something else I’ve got going is, we’ve got 14 acres in St. Louis, and we’re looking forward to moving back to St. Louis in about four or five years. It’s been a long process. We’ve had the property for about two and a half years now, and we’ve officially started moving into the dirt shop – it’s where my JEGS dirt car will be located. We’ve moved all my equipment from my shop in Concord, North Carolina to the St. Louis property and I’m looking forward to having my own dirt shop.
We’re coming down to the end of the year. The temperatures are getting cooler and my team’s goal is that we really need to keep Jay Robinson in the top 20 in car owner points. If you stay in the top 20, it’s worth a lot of money, so we definitely don’t want to drop out of the top 20! We had two goals. One was for me to finish in the top 10 in driver points, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, so now we really need to hang onto the top 20 in owner points – that’s worth about $50 or 60 thousand to Jay at the end of the year.
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