Talladega was really disappointing. We teamed up with Carl at the start of the race and we agreed that we should be hanging back a little bit, just let it all thin out and play out. We were running so well together we just couldn’t resist, we kept moving up there. The one time I pushed him up there I just got taken out by a car that came across us. He spun out and came across the track and I had no idea it was coming. It was just a really disappointing end. The superspeedways have really hurt us this year so far.
Then we had a great Dover and Charlotte couple of weeks there. We finished third in the Open, nearly transferred to the feature and had a great 600, where we led a lot of laps and were in contention to win.
The last three weeks have been flat. We just weren’t competitive enough at Kansas and that hurt us. At Pocono we were running top 15 and broke a gear. Last week were running well, top 15 all day, we looked pretty good and then got caught up in one of the messes on the restarts and damaged the nose. We limped home in 23rd.
At Pocono, I wasn’t the only one. There was a lot of damage done to gearboxes. I think it’s just a matter of teams having to readapt to the new conditions. I thought I was actually doing the right things and I’m not sure why my gearbox failed, but I think it’s just all new again. We’ve gone away from heavy gearboxes there and I think we’re going to have to rethink our strategy. I’m all right either way whether we shift or not. It doesn’t matter to me.
This week we go to Sonoma. We’re going out early to visit the children’s hospital. We have a big promotion with Stanley. If I can win the race, they’re going to donate a million dollars to the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, which is a really good thing. If I mess up and come in last or anywhere in between they’re still going to donate $100,000 so we’re racing for the trophy but we’re also racing for the kids this time. It’s a good cause and it’s a good track for me. It’s a good hunting ground. We’re looking forward to really getting out there and getting after my first win.
We’re also going to the children’s hospital to visit. We’ve got the car painted up in a special scheme with any child in America who has ever been a patient at the hospital network or is currently a patient and their story. We’re going to have a few kids at the track and we’ve got a special paint scheme and we’ve got a big charity donation to be made at the end of the weekend and we’re going to do a hospital visit so it’s all good.
Things are going great with my late model team. George (Miedecke) is doing great. He actually had an ARCA race a couple of weeks back in New Jersey, a road race, and he finished second. He’s running top 6 in points in the UARA so it’s going great. The idea for George is to create a career for him. We’ve been working the phones flat out trying to get him some opportunities and I think his career is looking better and better every week. He also ran in Denny Hamlin’s charity late model race at Richmond but it didn’t last long for him, poor boy. He only lasted a lap. One corner actually. He was competitive in practice and led a lot through the whole event. It’s tough going up against Cup drivers and to get caught up in a mess like he did is unfortunate, but I think he learned a lot from the experience.
We had a TV crew come out with us gold prospecting one week. We found a muddy creek and found some gold in it, so that was pretty cool. I would have been devastated if we didn’t find any gold when the TV cameras were there so I felt a bit nervous. I was probably more nervous about the film crew coming than I was about racing the car. It all worked out pretty good. It’s going to air in November on the Outdoor Channel.
I am going to gold rush country this week, but unfortunately I’m not really going to get a chance to go anywhere and check it out. Although we’re going for an extra day so I might get out there for a few hours, who knows.
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