It’s been great to be able to hang around the Charlotte area for the past few weeks, as I’ve enjoyed being home. We don’t get this opportunity too many times, so I will take it when I can get it. As I’m sure all of you know, it’s been a rough few weeks for us at Red Bull Racing with Brian [Vickers]’s health problems. I’ve had the chance to speak to him, and I think he’s doing well considering the situation. I think he’s keeping an eye on the positives that can come out of this, so overall, he’s handling it pretty good.
Obviously, Brian’s health is the most important thing here, and we’re all hoping for a speedy recovery. But things are sure quite a bit different on the team without him. It’s certainly a setback for all of us, there’s no question. After a good start, those of us on the No. 82 team were already going through some rough times over the past couple of months. When we went to the new spoiler, it seemed to hurt our momentum and to have this happen on top of that compounds the issues. As a team, I think we’ve handled the situation as well as we possibly can and made good decisions such as putting Casey Mears in the car. But there’s no question, it hurts the entire team when you lose someone of Brian’s caliber.
The good thing is that Brian is going to try to help out in a different regard as much as possible. It obviously won’t be the same without having him in the car and giving input directly. That being said, looking at the positive side, maybe Casey [Mears] can bring something new to the table, information he’s learned from different teams he’s worked with. That can add some value, but certainly the immediate effects are not positive.
As I mentioned before, a lot of you may be wondering why our performance has not been up to par and I have to tell you, even though everything possible was done by NASCAR to try to minimize the impact of the new spoiler, we still notice a lot of differences. I mean, it’s virtually impossible to keep everything the same. So it’s all about figuring out what those differences are and trying to exploit them. There’s no question that it has hurt some teams and helped others. For example, the change seems to be benefiting the Gibbs cars the most, who have seemed to have things figured out. That’s encouraging for guys like my buddy Kyle [Busch], but for a lot of us, we’re still trying to work through this.
Speaking of Kyle, as you saw, I did not get voted in to the All-Star race and could not come through on my promise to hit him in the face with a pie… for now. I promise you though, I will find another way at another time.
A couple of weeks ago, we managed a solid finish at Dover, but we certainly struggled throughout the weekend. Despite the success I’ve had at that place in the Truck Series, I find it a lot more challenging in the Cup cars. I think it’s probably one of the most difficult tracks to go to. We made some headway this time around, which is evident in our finishing position, but it’s still one of those tough places to go to.
I think we may have found our main problem though. After naming the car we ran at Dover “Miley Monster,” my wife Amanda rounded the guys up and voted that we should not name our cars anymore because it is bad luck. Just for clarification, the car’s name was absolutely not related to Miley Cyrus. It was the only girl’s name I can think of that fit.
I’m also going to keep my appearance the same for awhile and see what that does to our luck. The hair is going to stay short, as it’s going to start getting hot out and I need to stay cool. So I don’t plan any more changes for awhile. It’s comfort over style for the moment.
With all my recent activities involving winter sports over the offseason, many of you may be wondering if I’m into the NHL playoffs that are in full swing right now. But as I was telling Kevin Harvick’s PR guy this week, there are people who play sports and people that watch sports. I’m a player! Just to clarify that point, I mean player on the track, not with the ladies! I’ve got my beautiful wife Amanda and that’s all that I need. Besides, I’m pretty sure she would torture me if I tried anything.
Thanks once again for all of your support, of me, Red Bull Racing, and especially Brian as he faces this difficult time. I look forward to seeing you at the track and talking to you soon!