You know, at times I don’t know if I’m being picked on or if I’m lucky. I feel as if I’m lucky now, because I could be like a lot of my good friends. I could be on the sidelines watching the race. So I’m really grateful to Jay Robinson Racing. Jay had called me even before Daytona. He was still working on the U.S. Border Patrol sponsorship. I just really feel like I’m lucky. I’m young, I’m a good racecar driver, and it would be a total downer if I was not racing right now. But I also cannot believe all this happened six races into the year. It’s just unbelievable.
Did You Notice? That in the midst of the rumors surrounding Bill Davis Racing, it was revealed sponsor Caterpillar may be close to giving up the ghost and jumping ship to a top-level team for 2009; namely, Joe Gibbs Racing. Now, let’s see, the No. 11 already has solid sponsorship from FedEx, the No. 18 is set with M&M’s, and the No. 20 has Home Depot. So, where are they going to go? Certainly not on one of those cars; perhaps Joey Logano’s full-time Nationwide/part-time Cup sponsor for 2009 has been inadvertently revealed? This is something you want to stay tuned on.
In light of recent developments, which included Tony Raines and Kenny Wallace both moving to lesser-funded, single-car operations, is it better for series veterans to sit out completely, waiting for the right opportunity that will get them a competitive ride? Or should they take any ride offered to them, hoping against hope that the underdog will, in fact, triumph?
Scott Wimmer, along with the rest of the race leaders, drove “with an egg under the throttle,” saving fuel to the finish to lock up the Pepsi 300 win for the No. 29 Chevrolet. Wimmer’s victory was the first for a Nationwide Series regular this season.
As I was getting in my car for the Gatorade Duels, I said to myself, “Okay, Herman. You can do this. You’ve done it before.” Except I knew there was more on the line than just making it into the 50th 500. This was a chance for me to prove myself for once and all, on the biggest stage in auto racing. This team was giving me an opportunity to show my ability. As the race went on, it wasn’t looking very good. They dropped the green flag and the ignition went out. We had to pit and restart last. The whole race was like a dream. I was so focused inside the racecar on what I had to do; the drafting, all my moves.
After a whole week in relative anonymity amongst their manufacturer counterparts, Dodge took six of the top 10 spots in the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Were the Dodges merely in the right place at the right time, or are they going to be a force to reckoned with this year?
What’s right is Kenny Wallace racing on heart and a Hendrick engine to make the Daytona 500. Last week, I talked with Kenny on the phone and he said this: “Our backs are against wall, but I am prepared to make it–I will make the Daytona 500. It’s time for the underdog. The underdog won the Super Bowl and it’s time for the underdog to make it in the Daytona 500 and that’s me! I’ve been inspired by the New York Giants!”
Personally, it was a great offseason for me. We started off with Thanksgiving and we had me, my wife Kim, our three girls and the whole family over for dinner. I gave my family a speech. I stood up before dinner and told everybody that I hope I have to no longer invite anybody for Thanksgiving. We love having Thanksgiving and my wife is a great cook. We would always have this funny thing that would go on with my family where my brothers would say “Well, nobody called us. We weren’t invited.” So I gave them a little speech and I said that Thanksgiving is sacred to us because my Grandma always had dinner and we always went there. So we got that out of the way and said that Thanksgiving would always be at Kenny and Kim’s and that nobody needs to be invited ever again!
Kenny Wallace – the 2006 Busch Series Most Popular Driver – trounced the competition to take the slot among Nextel Cup’s best and brightest. Completing every one of the All-Star Race’s 80 laps, Wallace came home in 16th place – giving his underdog team some excellent exposure in the process.
When it comes to the Top 35 nowadays, it’s really become more about separating the “3” out of that number than anything else. For the past month, the battle has stood amongst three teams within Petty Enterprises (No. 45), Wood Brothers/JTG Racing (No. 21), and Bill Davis Racing (No. 22). Whatever the driver behind the wheel, they’re fighting hard for the final two spots within that coveted 35-team window – as well as the automatic qualifying exemption that goes with it. As the season winds down, regular readers of this column know how much the intensity level has simply been ratcheted up – the stakes are just as high as if they were competing for the coveted Nextel Cup trophy.