We’ve been to Talladega, Richmond and Darlington since our last diary. We’ve had some ups and downs, and finished with our first top 10 at Richmond, which is a good day. It was a good race for us and got us back on track, but we had a couple of tough races at Talladega and Darlington. We got caught up in the wreck on the green/white/checkered finish at Talladega. It’s just the way that racing is. You just put yourself in position to be in the right lane and be in the right spot, but we got crashed out up there at the top of the track. It was a big impact, but I came away unscathed.
Darlington is one of the hardest races of the year. It’s hard to run that place. It’s a good track, but we run right up against the fence and I had a rough night. I didn’t feel comfortable and had trouble tearing up the front end running that high. I qualified in the top 10 but we just had a struggle all night. I guess for our season, our last three races have been about frustration and patience. We’ve just got to be patient. I’ve had a few tough races. We’ve just got to get our season going and get it back on track. Between the races and some penalties that cost us points, we’re not anywhere near where we want to be in the championship at this point. Maybe over the next three or four weeks we can get some results and get back up there in the points.
Getting that top 10 does give us some hope. We had four 11th-place finishes, so you can’t really look at the stats and say we’ve had a bad year. We just haven’t had the consistency I guess and that’s what I’m looking for, to be more consistent week to week. We’re all trying. We’re trying as a team, we’re trying hard and we still believe in each other. It’s just a tough sport.
The boat we’re building is going great. We’ve got it floating so it’s going much better than what we hoped. The boat is designed to go in very shallow water, in shallow rivers so it actually floated great. We hope to get it running in the next couple of weeks. We’ve got some parts coming in from California which should finish up the project, so I’m getting excited.
I’ve been racing mini bikes too. I flew in a couple of mini bikes from Australia, mini motocross bikes, so I’ve had my mechanics on those. We didn’t break any bones, but we sure had an interesting time on those.
Dirt cars are something else I’m interested in. We’re running at Eldora at the Prelude to the Dream on June 9th. We’re getting real excited about that. We’ve got a great car to drive and we’re going to start testing in the next month hopefully. I did it last year and it was my first dirt race, so I didn’t do that well. This year we’re going to try to do some testing and do it right.
We’ve enhanced our sponsorship value, which is great, so we’re going to run the Cavalia paint scheme at the All-Star Race. The joke has been that we’ve got horsepower on the track during the weekend, and during the week days you can go and see some horsepower at Cavalia downtown. (Ed. Note: Cavalia is a Cirque du Soleil style show featuring acrobatics and horses.) It’s an incredible partnership and sponsorship, and it works well. For the people in town between the All-Star Race and the Coke 600, if you have some down time during the week go and see the show. It just shows you that there is good value in sponsorship and I believe they’re really excited about the publicity they’ve already received. Maybe we can help them get some people in the seats for the show.
I got to visit them and see the horses and try out some stunts on their equipment. I got to do some jumps and some flips with their bungee cord apparatus and then they decided I should do a jump off a horse like that. I felt really awkward standing on the back of a horse and jumping off of it. It’s kind of funny when you watch it on video. All the action is from the back end of the horse, that’s pretty much where we were jumping off of. It was fun, a good experience but I was a little freaked out about hanging 20 foot in the air dong backflips.
The All-Star race is the week after this. It’s a unique thing because you can be voted in by the fans. We’re still running top 10 but there’s some tough competition. Hopefully we’re the one, but we don’t want to rely just on that. We want to make sure we can race our way in on speed. We’re very excited about our chances and going night racing. It’s a huge spectacular and it’s just fun because there are no points involved and you can just let loose and catch the wind.
We’ve got Dover coming up first and I’m excited about that. That’s a great track, it’s probably one of my favorites. I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we’ll run good. It’s a tough little track. We’re back to a Sunday race, back to the traditional format.
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