We had a disastrous first couple of races to our season. We had some mechanical issues that put us out of the race in the first two events so we had to really dig deep as a team and try and dig ourselves out of a really bad hole. We were 39th in points and having to think about having to try and qualify in after the sixth race and we bounced back really well. We had a solid run in Vegas. It was a little unfortunate to finish 15th. Then we had a good run at Atlanta and finished 11th. We’ve had great speed and we’re finally starting to get the consistency in getting to the finish line, which is critical, so for our season, right now when we look at it, while we haven’t had a great start, we’ve got good speed so we have a lot of optimism.
Since we had two races on the West Coast, I stayed out there and made a holiday out of it. I went to see a friend of mine, Tom Massie, who runs the Outdoor Channel, so we spent some time with him up in the mountains. We actually climbed a few mountains too. We took a couple days off and climbed. We tried to climb Mt. Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains behind the racetrack there in California, but it was pretty heavily snowed in and we didn’t have snowshoes. We made it about 2/5 of the way up and decided that discretion was the better part of valor and slid back down the hill.
We had a great trip. I drove the motorhome from California to Las Vegas and spent time with my Dad. I hung out with him and some fans we met on the way. It was really a good couple days off. I did that because I just wanted to stay on West Coast time. Two West Coast races flying through the night definitely tires you out, so I think it was a smart choice. My family wasn’t back from Australia yet so I didn’t really have any reason to relocate back to North Carolina between the two events.
We’ve just had an early off weekend in the season. On a personal level, my family just came back from Australia, my two little girls and my wife, so we had a great off week reacquainting ourselves together and just having a good time. The kids are growing up fast and it’s great to see them again and spend a weekend like a normal Dad. Personally it was great.
For the race team, I think we really needed the break as well. We’ve had reliability issues so we really just needed the time to go over everything we’ve done and try to make our package more reliable. I’m looking forward to Bristol. I’m excited about it. The week off has helped with focus both on a personal level and for our team.
I like the track at Bristol, especially when we run well. If I knew what made me go fast there I’d do it again at every track. I don’t know why I’ve done well there both races. It’s actually not anything apart from that the car was handling well and I was able to get around. That’s it really. If there is a secret, I don’t know it.
That track is different from anything I’d ever raced before, but it’s a racecar and it’s got four wheels and a steering wheel. I find the track challenging and it’s difficult to get around and it’s different but then again I was racing Truck Series and Nationwide for three years before I got to the Cup Series so I’ve been on the track four or five times now and that does make a difference.
We’re in the racing groove. For me personally I’m in America to race and any off weekend I feel like I’m treading water a little bit. The situation this off week was a little different because of my family coming back and I really enjoyed the time with them but if I could be racing from here until the end of November when I go back to Australia again I’ll be a happy man. I’m all about racing whether it’s dirt cars, short track, NASCAR, you name it, I’ll be doing it.