I didn’t think we were going to be too bad in Atlanta when we unloaded, but the track just got slowed with the more rubber that got put down. Everyone was fighting the same thing with being a little free. We never really got it perfect and we definitely didn’t have the speed we needed for qualifying, either, and that hurt us. When we got in the race, I was off a little bit and there was so much green flag racing that there wasn’t a lot of an opportunity to pit and make adjustments. It was just a night where we never really hit it off and we struggled a little bit. We were definitely looking for a good run. After Michigan (finished third), we had bad luck at Bristol and then didn’t have great luck at Atlanta, either. It’s disappointing for sure.
Iowa is a good track for me. Actually, last time we were there, we were pretty good. We ran well in the first practice and third in the second practice. We definitely had good speed, but I kind of messed up in qualifying and started a little toward the back. But we worked our way to the front and we were running sixth there without too much left in the race. Unfortunately, I got into it with another competitor and cut a tire down and ended up in the wall. It was definitely not what we wanted. It was a brand new truck we took there and it was really fast, so I hate that it got torn up like that.
Earlier this year at Iowa, I ran two different mock qualifying runs in both practices and both times got about the same time. But then when I actually did it (went out to qualify), I slowed up by about two-tenths and messed it up. It’s so important to hit your marks and not over or under-drive the truck. The trucks don’t have a whole lot of power there, so you’re actually driving into the corner a little more. You’ve definitely got to be handling and turning well. It’s a fun place, though. It’s a racy place, but it’s still hard to pass because there’s a lot of grooves. Some people get really high, but it seems like whoever is in front of you is pretty good at using up all of the track. It takes a lot of work to pass, but it’s a fun place to race.
Getting back to the comment about not a lot of power, the tapered spacer we run doesn’t give us a whole lot. We run the Cup engines but they cut it down by over 200 horsepower, so we lose a lot of our torque. The way Iowa is in particular, it’s really a momentum track for being so small. Everyone when they talk about it, they say it’s a short track that has a lot of intermediate characteristics. There’s a lot of momentum build up where you’re not really trying to slow down much, but it’s still like a short track when you’re trying to race around people. You really just have to make sure you hit it right and have a good day.
I wish Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth the best in their new rides, and I expect they’ll do alright. I think everyone had an idea that was going to happen for awhile, but they were just waiting for them to announce it. Hopefully, it’s good for them. It should be exciting to see for sure.
As far as where I’ll be next season, I really don’t know right now. It’s a deal where we’re just trying to iron everything out. The biggest thing is definitely sponsorship — it’s even made it tough this year trying to do everything. If it comes to a point where we have to start saving for next year, we might do that. If we can do Nationwide, it’s great, if we can do a full season in Trucks, that’s good too. Whatever I can get in will be good as long as it’s fast.
Looking ahead to Richmond this weekend, I don’t really have a clue who will get that last wild-card. There’s so much that can happen if one of them gets in a wreck or something else happens, they’re done. I really think winning has got to be priority one. With nine of the Chasers already locked in, it’s going to be tough to get that wild card. Hopefully it should be a good race, but I couldn’t even tell you who I think is going to get it. I think it’ll come down to someone trying to win it, so it should be exciting.
I honestly haven’t been paying attention to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. I know there’s some pretty big debating going on, but I haven’t watched it at all. I’m probably biased about who I’m going to vote for, so I haven’t really paid attention too much, but I’ll definitely have to start.
With football season getting started, everyone knows I’m a pretty big Colts fan. I think Andrew Luck has done alright so far with preseason under his belt. It looks like the Colts still have some stuff to work out, and I doubt they’re going to come in and just start winning a whole bunch of games right away. If they can have the goal to go .500 this year, maybe they won’t make the playoffs, but it’s a building deal. They’re going to have to get more people around Luck to build the team. It’s kind of exciting to watch them start over, and I’ll still be watching Peyton Manning playing for Denver. Luckily I’m big into fantasy football, so I have a lot of people to be watching each week.
As far as the comparisons between Luck and Robert Griffin, III with the Redskins, in two of my three leagues, I actually have Robert Griffin, III as a backup. One thing with fantasy football is that you get a lot more points for rushing than for passing, and I have a feeling that Griffin is going to run more than Luck will. I think he might be a little bit better as a fantasy player, but I guess we’ll see. I don’t know who’s better yet.
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