We’ve visited California, Charlotte and Martinsville over the last few weeks. It’s been pretty thin on the results side, but we’ve run well and we led a lot of laps at Martinsville which was great. I’m not sure what happened there halfway through the race, it just didn’t go our way. That was a strong car and we qualified on the front row so we were happy about that. Charlotte has been one of my toughest tracks historically, but we finished 16th and had good speed so we were happy with that. California was a block. We tried something new and it really didn’t work for us.
Martinsville was a good race. Even though I’m leaving the team at the end of the season, it shows that no one has given up. We’re proud of that. We’re proud of the ability to keep trying even though we’re going our separate paths at the end of the season. We’re all good friends, we all want to run well and I want to represent JTG as well as I can. Just to lead laps and pass Denny Hamlin for the lead early on, when he ended up winning the race too, we’re proud of it. I’m not sure what happened there halfway through the race, but we just didn’t recover well and got ourselves there in the back.
I think they mentioned we had brake issues but we didn’t really. I put a lot of rear brake in the car to keep it rotating in the center and it ended up catching me out, but the brakes weren’t the issue that caused the crash. It was my fault.
I know the news coming from RPM has been a big story. I said that I am committed to the team and I stand by that remark. I needed to make a change and I thought that RPM was the best option for me at the time. It’s a great program and I look forward to stepping in for them. I want to be there, I want to drive for them, I want to give myself the very best chance and drive for the King and everyone else over there.
I feel like they’re going through a tough patch no doubt. If I can support them and help them get through it, we’re going to get out the other side a much stronger group. When you go through trials and tribulations and you make it out the other side, it just makes the team stronger. We’re not out of the woods for sure. RPM has been through a difficult patch and have got more work to do to get themselves on solid financial footing, but I believe in the people there. I believe they can get it right. Up until they tell me the boat has sunk, I’m going to stay on with them.
This will be the first time my family and I have spent the off season here in America. I want to get my gold boat working properly, so I’m going to have a good shot at that. We’ll have a good couple of weeks on it in between commitments to RPM. We’re going to try to disappear for at least two and a half weeks with the kids. We’re actually going to try to drive the coach over to Colorado and take in the snow for Christmas. We don’t quite know what path we’re going to take or how long it’s going to take us to get there, but we’re just going to hit the road, look for the snow and have a white Christmas.
Normally our Christmases are completely sun drenched and sun burned and too hot down on the beach because it’s the middle of our summer in Australia. It’s going to be a nice change for us to have a white Christmas. I’m pretty sure none of my kids have been through a winter. It’s probably been at least six years for me since I’ve seen a solid winter. It’s going to be an experience. I really like snow. I grew up in a hot country so I like to put some extra clothes on and drink egg nog and not let it worry your waistline!
This week we’re going to Talladega. It’s a race that’s a lot of fun when you finish it, but during the moment it’s very intense. It’s one of those events that you love to have completed but you don’t necessarily enjoy the moment that much. The whole weekend is luck. There’s a lot of stuff out of your control. You can’t control what happens in front and behind you. You’re in the draft, everyone is pushing at the end there to get the most out of it. I really feel like the weekend doesn’t really start until 10 laps to go. Everything for my weekend is based around the last 10 laps. I just want to make sure I’m there, look after my stuff and hopefully stay calm and cool under the heat of battle and get out the other side.