Our weekend at Talladega certainly did not go well for the Furniture Row Racing Team. I’m not sure yet what specifically broke, I can just tell you that it was just a catastrophic failure. We didn’t get hot or anything crazy like that, not even in practice or at any point during the weekend. I really didn’t have any intentions of racing that hard because of the rule package but as it turned out, it didn’t matter. The guys have to look at the engine and won’t know the official cause for another week or two. There were a lot of parts coming out of it so they’ll be digging for awhile.
Restrictor plate racing is under the microscope once again after this most recent round. This overheating issue needs to be looked at, but it’s one of those situations where we’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. If we get rid of the overheating issues, we’re going to be racing in tandems. If we keep the big packs, we’re going to be overheating. I don’t think you’ll see an easy fix until next year when the new car comes out. From what we’re seeing, it doesn’t look like the bumpers line up. When that’s the case, you’ll cause damage to the cars if you push so that will keep us from doing so.
We’ve been hearing a lot of complaining lately about how boring the racing has been. I really think it’s probably just the casual fan that is saying there is no excitement because personally, I think this is the most competitive we’ve been as a series . One thing that everyone has to learn to accept is that the aero will always play a significant role in NASCAR. The car in front is always going to have the advantage and the further back you go, the harder it is to pass. I don’t care what you do to these cars in terms of spoilers or giving it more down force, it’s always going to be this way from here on out. We figured out how to optimize cars with taking them to wind tunnels and learning more about aerodynamics. You can pretty much throw a blanket over these cars, they’re all running so close.
What we absolutely shouldn’t do is go cutting up tracks in my opinion. I have my doubts that what they’re doing at Bristol is going to fix the perceived problem there. I’d love to say that it’s going to be right back to how it used to be but the fact is, if we run in one lane on the bottom, with this car, when we hit bumpers, we’re not going to wreck. We’re not going to have that guy coming back out 100 laps down to take the other guy out. Personally, I think it’s better that these type of wrecks don’t happen. A lot of us grew up working on race cars and know how expensive they are so to go out there just to tear up race cars makes no sense to me. It’s not in my blood nor is it for a lot of the guys in the field. I feel like we’re just trying to cause more wrecks and at the end of the day, that is not a good thing either.
I can’t say too much about the Kurt Busch and Dodge rumors right now. From an organization standpoint, it would be great to have the second car. We’ve talked about it for awhile and we’d love to be able to expand under the right circumstance with the proper sponsorship. Right now, my priorities lie with righting the ship from the past few weeks. We can’t really help it when an engine goes, but at other tracks, we haven’t been as fast as we need to be. So I need to focus on that. From a team point, I want to see them do whatever is best for Furniture Row Racing. We work with RCR guys, but we’re in a separate shop so it will be great to have a second car in our shop specifically. But it’s awfully early in the year for the rumor mill, so this is to be continued.
What I can talk about is playoff hockey. I really liked the way L.A. looked after they beat Vancouver and I think that they are actually going to go all the way this year. I have a few of their guys on my fantasy team, including Dustin Brown, who is a fellow upstate New York guy. They’ve got a lot of good players who are peaking at the right time. I like how they’re team is built from a playoff perspective. I will say that the west looks way stronger than the east right now. I may eat those words if another goalie gets hot, but the east appears inconsistent to me, and overall, I think whoever comes out of the east is going to have a hard time with the western representative.
Since I last wrote, we had some big quarterback news here in Denver that involved a fellow Furniture Row Racing athlete, Tim Tebow. I think he is a powerful figure because of his beliefs and the way he handles himself and that will continue in New York; he will be fine I’m sure. While I hate losing him, we now have a world class QB now and I’m happy with that.
I’m excited to go back to Darlington as the defending champion. From a confidence standpoint, we know what it takes to win at that track and that’s always something that is good to have in your back pocket. That being said, we need to look at these next couple of weeks as momentum builders. After last weekend, the only thing that matters right now is to go out there, find speed, get wins and find out why we have fallen off more than anticipated. We’re in a pretty big hole in the points right now and we need some strong performances to get back into the top 20. That being said, we need to find the speed to get those strong performances. We’re going to test a lot and work hard, in fact, I am at a tire test in New Hampshire as I write this. The only thing we can do is to work harder than the next guy and do everything we can from a car standpoint. I know RCR is working on a lot of things that we’ll be able to utilize so that will help as well. The next few weeks are going to be shifting gears for us. A few weeks ago, we were trying to collect points to stay in the hunt. Now, we don’t need to do that anymore, we just need to find speed and get some good runs.
In addition to being the defending champions, the best thing about this weekend is that my mom will be there this time around. I’d love to have a repeat performance for her and it would be a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day. So look out for us on Saturday night and thank you for all of your support of the entire Furniture Row Racing team! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there as well!