ORP was a long day for us. We could never get the car right. That was my favorite car at ORP, and I really thought we were going to be competitive because you don’t need a lot of horsepower; you really need to handle good. But we never could get it to handle right. I was so loose up off the corner that it was about sideways trying to get up off the corner. That’s what we fought the whole time we were there and never could get it to tighten up.
Also, we lost Mike Fordham, one of our crew members… he’s our mechanic. So anyway, what happened was, I thought I had a right-front tire going down but what it was is the right front A-frame fell off. It popped loose from the upper A-frame perch that it bolts to, and then at the same time the alternator wire came unplugged and it wasn’t charging the battery. So that was two freak things that happened-the A-frame came off and the alternator wire came unplugged underneath the dashboard and the battery went dead. We didn’t have a spare battery, and we literally fell out and lost 24 points. That really hurt because that one could have been prevented; that was our fault. It was really disappointing, especially because last year we finished 10th.
We took the same car to Iowa, and the car had the same exact characteristics. I about spun out early in the race. It seems like we’re stuck finishing 20th, 21st. I think we finished 20th at Iowa. My brother Mike and I put on a hell of a battle. It seemed like I was racing Mike all night long. But it seemed like we were doing the same thing there. I felt like there’s something statically wrong with that car. That one’s always been my favorite car, and now all of a sudden, I’m worried about it. We’ll take that car to Bristol next time. We talked about it and we’re going to make some major changes to the right-front geometry and try to make the car better.
My oldest daughter Brooke is 23, and she just did 18 months of college studies to become a dental hygienist. Every time I’d see her, she was working really hard at her studies; she’s like her mother. She’s really smart and studies hard. I told Kim, ‘we need to do something for her.’ She’s really been stressed out. So we went to the Atlantis in Nassau Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. That was a gift to Brooke. She brought her boyfriend Jacob and we really wanted to make her relax. It was nice. We had a really great time!
My favorite time of the year is almost over. I went to a couple of Cardinals games. We won them both. I had great seats as usual thanks to all of my great friends in the Cardinals organization and Bank of America. I also did a lot of dirt racing. The dirt racing went great. It seems like we were a lot more consistent this year and we ran a lot better. I think that just comes with running more. It’s not like I run a lot of dirt-I run about 30 races a year, compared to a lot of my friends who run about 60-80! I’m really proud of my dirt team. We’ve come a long way. It’s been a very hot summer, but it’s been a lot of fun. We won four big dirt races at Clarksville, Tenn.; Padukah, Ky.; LaSalle Ill.; and Macon, Ill. So we’re making gains with the dirt car. We’re also finishing up our property in St. Louis. We have a dirt shop and an entertainment home back there. Eventually in about four or five years, we’re going to move back to St. Louis. We’re doing it slowly but surely, building the property.
NASCAR has talked about making some changes to the Nationwide Series, and I think everything they’ve talked about doing is great. Obviously nobody’s going to agree with everything that they’re doing; that’s the way sports are. But I’m really excited to see NASCAR doing what they’re doing. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and we just really need to make a wholesale change in our sport. I applaud everything they’re doing. The Nationwide Series is really going to be a lot different. We’re going to be going to Iowa twice. Everything’s going to be different. They’re thinking about adding a Chase. We’ve got to do something.
Right now as we write this, we don’t even have a championship race any more. Brad Keselowski has won it. He has about a 400-point lead. The championship doesn’t mean anything any more. We’ve got to get the identity back for these drivers. There’s going to be big changes in Cup too-you’re going to see changes throughout our whole sport. They’re making it seems like a change a week. NASCAR has already announced that Fontana lost a Cup date, Atlanta’s lost a date. You’re going to see wholesale changes in Cup, Nationwide and trucks. It’s been discussed that NASCAR is starting to deteriorate and people aren’t watching. That really bothers me, so anything we can do to get the fans back involved in our sport, that’s what we need to do.