We’ve had quite a lot of transition at Red Bull Racing over the past few months and as far as the deal with Casey Mears goes, it doesn’t take a genius to know that wrecking your teammate probably is not the best thing you could do. We got lucky to come out of that incident at Michigan without any damage or anything, but it didn’t exactly help our track position. Not to mention we were running like crap to begin with. He raced me clean last weekend at New Hampshire, I’ll say that. So I don’t think there is any kind of grudge or anything. He had the perfect opportunity to wreck me and did not. We’ve moved on.
The other big change was the crew chief swap, which sent Ryan Pemberton over to my team. As far as these driver and crew chief changes go, I’m consulted about them, but at the end of the day there has to be a boss. I think they talk to everyone to get their thoughts but the ultimate decision is up to management, as it should be. So I need to be ready to provide my input, but roll with the punches as needed.
The relationship with Pemberton is going. We’re just getting our feet wet. We’ve been showing up at the track with setups similar to what Brian [Vickers] has run. It worked well for us at Pocono, but didn’t work too great for us at Michigan. It didn’t work at all for us the last two weekends. We’ve been able to rebound and make ourselves better, but it’s going to take us a while to get our own setups situated. Brian and I actually like very similar setups, especially for certain tracks.
However, the development of the car since I’ve started driving definitely affects things too. The tires are changing all the time and you can’t go back to the track with the same setup like you had last year. You need to evolve. The tires are a big reason why you are seeing some drivers who struggled last year do well this year and vice versa. Even just this season, we’ve had really good cars in the first few months but since then we have lost something or just haven’t been able to find what others have gained.
At Sonoma, I got to work with another driver with a road-racing background, Mattias Ekström, and we actually had almost the exact same feel to the car. It was very beneficial. I’ve known Mattias for a while and it was great to catch up with him and to be able to spend time with him. We showed up with the same setup, both got out of the car and said the exact same thing about it. The No. 83 went down one path and we went down another and luckily we were able to try some things before the race because we were both struggling a little bit. In the end, it worked out, so I’m optimistic about having him back for Watkins Glen. In fact, Mattias actually had less of a change to deal with when adapting to these cars than I did with an open-wheel background, not to mention that he is a heck of a driver. He is really one of the best DTM car racers in the world.
I’ve been having a lot of fun keeping up with the World Cup over the last few weeks. The U.S. played well, but they missed a lot of opportunities, especially in the last game against Ghana. However, as a team, I thought they played better than I ever remember in a World Cup. Since the U.S. is out and Italy sucked and didn’t even make it to the second round, I think I’m going to go for the Netherlands. It’s just been crazy though with both France and Italy going out in the first round and England playing like crap, anything can happen. Brazil is strong though, so they are going to be hard to beat.
It’s a shame that Portugal lost however because my wife Amanda’s boyfriend plays for them, who of course is Cristiano Ronaldo. I don’t look at it as competition though, she gets a celebrity pass on that one. If she can pull that off, more power to her! I actually have Keira Knightley on my celebrity pass list. If she came to me and showed interest or just wanted to go out for coffee, it would be a done deal. Amanda would expect that phone call: “Sorry dear, it’s been good times, unfortunately, things changed.” I’m kidding of course, but we have fun with that kind of stuff.
I’m also a big fan of David Blaine but in a much different way! We just saw him on TV last week on a travel channel. It was awesome! I can’t even begin to figure out how he pulls his tricks off.
Well, hopefully we won’t need magic to get back on track with the No. 82 team. Thanks as always for your support during these times where everything seems to be changing. I can assure you that we’ll get this figured out soon. See you at the track!