The season is just around the corner, and I am wrapping up what certainly has been a busy offseason. Soon after Homestead, I went down to the Snowball Derby with Kyle Busch and it was quite an experience – I met a lot of great people while I was down there. It was great to see where these guys come from. I got to work on the cars, and it was neat to see things from a perspective outside of the driver.
I mentioned at the end of last season that I was preparing for a marathon. I haven’t had any races yet, but I’m still training hard. If a race or a triathlon or something similar comes up, I will definitely be ready.
That brings us to the biggest part of the offseason, which was the trip to Europe that Amanda and I took and it was great. It was cool to show Amanda where I spent so many years growing up and where I started my racing career. I enjoyed spending time in Austria with the Red Bull people. We got to do a lot of cool stuff with all the athletes over there and see some friends I haven’t seen in a while. It was like a homecoming of sorts. I used to live 200 meters from Red Bull Headquarters, so they know me very well there. Amanda particularly enjoyed Paris. It was her first time, so I got to be her personal tour guide, for what it’s worth. I’m not the most informational guy, but we had a blast and that was the most important part!
The other fun part of our trip was attending the ski races. I didn’t get a chance to meet Bode Miller, but the entire event itself was awesome. We normally go there every year, which is one of the many cool things about being a part of Red Bull. I did a little competing myself and went up against the likes of David Coulthard as well as some other Red Bull Motorsports guys. I certainly couldn’t beat them; I finished like sixth or something like that. It was a blast, though, and I didn’t break anything so that was even better. There were jumps and other kinds of obstacles, so I feel quite fortunate that I got out of there in one piece.
While I was over there, I made it a point to keep track of the NFL playoffs. I’m quite excited because I really want to see the Saints win it all. I had a chance to meet Reggie Bush awhile back, who is another Red Bull athlete. On top of that, I just think Drew Brees is an unbelievable quarterback – the guy is awesome. It would be cool to see that city go insane if they win.
Now, it’s on to Daytona once again. It looks like we’re going to be outside the Top 35, although in past years, that has changed as people were quite literally flying down [to the track]. But at the moment, we’ll need to make it in and I think we have a car that is capable of reaching the top five in qualifying. It would be great if we can secure a position that way and not have to worry about running the 150 and risk the possibility of getting wrecked out altogether. If we survive Daytona, I’m looking forward to the next two events at California and Vegas as I think we’ll run well at both of those venues. Making it through the first five races and securing a Top-35 spot is critical. That is what killed us last year, especially during the first half of the season. We fell so far behind after getting caught up in other people’s wrecks or experiencing engine failure that it was hard to recover. But if we can start off the season with some top-20 finishes, that would be a really good thing.
I’m looking forward to getting 2010 started, and I know the entire No. 82 team has a lot of potential to have a solid season. I will once again look forward to all of your support this year!