In the first race at Chicago, we finished fourth, so I was excited to go back, knowing that we could run competitively. Everything was on total schedule. We qualified eleventh in the first race, came back and qualified eleventh for the second race. We were really consistent and the car was fast. They dropped the green flag, we took off with the lead pack, and I was happy. Then we came in for our first pit stop and when the race went back to green, the motor quit on me. I would fire it up, it would keep going and then quit again. So anyway, what had happened was one of the coil wires broke. So there was nothing we could do; we didn’t know what it was at the time. It was a little bit of a bummer, but we just had a wiring problem. It was a new car. So, that’s the bottom line.
As of right now, the next race that I’m 100% sure I’m running is Kansas. It looks like we’re also getting some money gathered up for Phoenix and Miami, so I’m hoping everything turns out the way I want it to. You never know, we might add a race here and there, but we’re running at Kansas for sure, 100%. I’d say we’re also 98% sure that we’re going to run Phoenix and Miami as well. Then we’ll see if we can add any more.
The dirt car has been awesome. We won the Summer Nationals championship that ended on July 13. So Thursday night of this week is a really big night for us because we’re accepting our championship trophy. It’s a really big deal. My complete team, everybody who took part in that championship, is going to be there. So starting Thursday at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois is what they call Modified Mania. It’s three nights of modified racing, sort of like Speedweeks in Florida. There will be a hundred cars there each night. Before the events start, the President and CEO of the sponsor, Summitt, is going to present me and my team the championship trophy. I’m really excited about it!
Then after that, I’ll be headed to Loudon, New Hampshire. I’m going to be in the booth on Saturday with Larry McReynolds and John Roberts. It will be the first time I’ve been in the booth in a long time. I’m excited about it. I’ve got some booth work coming up in the next couple of weeks, too. I’m also going to be in the booth on Friday and Saturday in Dover. So with the dirt racing winding down, I’m giving Kyle Petty a break and getting a little booth action for SPEED.
Back at the Prelude to the Dream in June, we helped out Feed the Children. So we had a night called “A Night with the Kennys” at Eldora back in June and raised a lot of money. We raised enough money to put 400 meals together. So on behalf of our speedway, Macon Speedway, Kenny Schrader and I helped hand out 400 meals at a church. It was organized so the cars would line up side by side, and there were 80 to 100 families, and three or four families in some vehicles. Kenny and I helped load the food up. Each person got a case of drinks and two boxes of food. We did that and then we went to the hospital in Decatur, Illinois and we went to the pediatric section to visit the children. I had a really good time.
I’ve been working with a company called Elite Racing Sponsors. They’re made up of grassroots people. They don’t have a big corporate office, and they work just as hard as they can. I think the days of one person looking for a sponsor are over. I’m really appreciative of what they have done in helping me. You look at Tony Stewart, who needs two sponsors to run in Cup. Something else I’m seeing is guys like Elliott Sadler and now Brian Vickers announcing they’re going to be running full time Nationwide next year, you’re going to see some Cup drivers going back and running Nationwide because they can’t get the ten or twenty million dollars it takes to run Cup. So I think you’re going to see more guys like Vickers and Sadler saying, ‘hey look, I just want to race.’ That’s where people like Elite come in. There’s going to be more people trying to find that three or four million dollars than trying to find ten or twenty million to run Cup, and you don’t see many guys with just one sponsor.
There are only like 14 drivers running the full Nationwide Series anymore, and I think it’s very rare for more than ten drivers to know what they’re going to do the next year at this point. I know that my future is exciting. I know that I’m as busy as I’ve ever been and I’ve got more sponsors than I’ve ever had, but still, you don’t find that one sponsor that’s going to give you four million dollars. So what I’m trying to say is that I’ll be racing next year. As of right now, it looks like I’ll be running a limited schedule again.
At this time of year, we’re getting ready for baseball playoffs. The Cardinals are still in it for the National League wild card spot. The Cincinnati Reds have pretty well locked our division up. But the Cardinals are fighting the Atlanta Braves for the wild card. So right now, every game is really important for us. I’ll tell you, what Tony Stewart did in NASCAR last year and what my Cardinals did in baseball last year, until my Cardinals are out of it, I’m not calling anything. Someone asked me the other night who I thought was going to win the American League, and I said the Texas Rangers.
But after what I learned last year, I’m not going to say anybody’s got the National League yet. Chris Carpenter is coming back this Friday; that’s going to help our pitching staff out. Are the Cardinals going to do what they did last year? Highly unlikely. But you can never forget, you know? Right now it’s really exciting, even though they aren’t the best in the division. We didn’t win the division last year, either. The Brewers won the division last year and then we knocked them out in the first round of the playoffs. You know the way it goes. The one thing about baseball is _you never know_. That’s what drives people crazy.
In sports, we all want to predict. We didn’t predict Tony Stewart last year. We love talking about it on SPEED; it’s a lot of fun to talk about it and with fantasy leagues and the like, everybody wants to know everybody’s opinion.
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