I recently participated in T1D4ADAY – Type 1 for a Day, hosted by JDRF.
For one day, I “had” Type 1 (T1D). Now let me tell you, that saying about how you never know how someone else feels until you walk in their shoes? That’s true.
I’ve worked with JDRF through my sponsors Motorcraft and Quick Lane since 2008, with our race car design contest. Every year, either my Funny Car team or Wood Brothers Racing gets to compete with a special JDRF paint scheme that raises awareness and funds for a cure for T1D. Ford Motor Company is the largest global sponsor for JDRF and we are all happy to be part of that. Remember Libby Ledford and the “Our Everyday Heroes” car we ran in Norwalk this year? Libby won our contest in 2012.
I’ve always been blown away by the strength and self-control these kids have, and I’ve always had lots of respect for their families that support them.
I’ve never had a chance to walk in their shoes, though. Until this week.
JDRF set up a texting program that let anyone who cares about someone with T1D or is just curious really get what it’s like to live with it.
From the time I woke up until after I went to bed, I got texts. Now, these texts didn’t just remind me I had T1D for a day. No. These all demanded action on my part. I constantly had to think about, maintain and take action to keep my blood sugar levels where they needed to be.
The first text reminded me to take a blood meter, insulin injection tools and emergency glucose supplies to work with me. (Of course I didn’t really do these things – but the texts showed me what I would need to do if I had T1D).
Two texts later, I was reminded to “check” my blood sugar. It was high, for no reason, so I had to “take” an injection.
If I felt like even eating an apple, I had to make sure I could.
Let me tell you…there is no way you could experience T1D for a day and not walk away with respect for people who handle it for real. This really gave me a look at what goes through their minds every day.
We take the simplest things for granted sometimes. People with T1D have to calculate everything they eat and ultimately how much insulin to give themselves to keep their levels balanced.
It reinforced for me how important it is to carry that JDRF banner and help do our small part to help fund a cure.
For more information about T1D, check out JDRF online athttp://www.jdrf.org , on Facebook and Twitter (@JDRF).
Now it's off to Pomona. It has been a very busy couple of weeks. It feels like we've been non-stop since the Western Swing. After the Reading race I flew to Charlotte to put the finishing touches on our all new 2013 paint scheme. I think it came out awesome! It will be the first time The Wood Brothers 21 Ford Fusion and our Mustang will look very similar in design.
From there I headed out to the Vegas race. It ended up being one of the most competitive qualifying sessions of all time, just .07 of a second separated the No. 1 qualifier to No. 16. We made a great opening run. We ran low ET of any car in the right lane, but unfortunately we raced Cruz Pedregon, who ran low ET of the weekend against us. After the race we tested on Monday and continued to work on our set-up for next season.
Then it was off to SEMA. I look forward to this show all year. The creativity of the men and women in the automotive industry always amazes me.
If you've never been and can get credentials, you have to attend it at least one time. To see some of the custom vehicles people create is unbelievable! The big news for Ford was the announcement of a concept twin turbo Eco Boost Cobra Jet. I took part in the unveiling. What an awesome looking car!
Straight from Vegas I headed to Chicago to see my son, Bob IV, and his team play in a worldwide hockey tournament. It was great to be able to spend some one-on-one time with my son Bobby. With four boys I don't often get time to spend with just one of my kids. Normally we are all together.
We did some sight-seeing. We went to the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower). Once we got to the top there were glass walkouts. Bobby was fearless. He walked right out onto it. Not for me. I would much prefer being on fire at 300 mph then walk out onto a glass panel at the top of the Willis Tower!
As for the hockey games, well, let’s just say the level of competition was unreal. It would be like me heading to Pomona with a 3 cylinder gas engine in my Mustang. The outcome wouldn't be pretty...
After that, I finally got home after 13 days on the road. Even if it was only for two days, it was great to see the rest of the family and get caught back at the office. While I was gone we got the all new CMax in at the dealership. It is Ford's exclusive Hybrid vehicle. I had to take one for a spin. What a great car to drive! If you’re in the market for one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road you have to check it out!
As I type this I'm flying at 36,000 feet heading to Pomona. We have certainly not had the season we hoped for, but I can't think of a better way to head into the off-season than winning the last race of the year! The best is yet to come. Thanks for all of your support this season.
It’s playoffs time, and we’re spoilers. Let me tell you two things about being in our shoes: No. 1, I’d be lying if I said we aren’t disappointed; and No. 2, people say the pressure’s off for the rest of the season if you don’t make the Countdown. That isn’t true.
To perform is everything to us. When you don’t perform, you just didn’t get the job done. All you can do is get up off the mat time and time again. The champions have all been on the mat and they’ve risen again, and that’s what we’ll do, too.
We went into Indy 10th in points with two hungry teams behind us. One of them was our Ford Shelby teammate Tim Wilkerson and his Levi, Ray & Shoup team. As luck would have it, when the race was rained out and NHRA added two qualifying sessions, we drew Tim first round. Only one of us was going to make it into the Countdown to the Championship, and Tim got the job done.
When you’re up against a teammate like that, it’s tough. As much as you want the best for them, you still want your team to be the team that makes it happen. We’re a determined team, though, and we’re going out to the next few races to win some races.
I can tell you this, through the tough times you find out who you are and what you’re made of. How we perform over these next six races will define our season.
Charlotte is always a race the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team looks forward to. Our shop is near zMAX Dragway in Concord, where a lot of the NASCAR teams are based. My guys get to sleep in their own beds, and since we’re on the road most of the year, that’s a luxury. The staff at the track does a great job, too. They do whatever it takes to promote NHRA Full Throttle Series Drag Racing, and we appreciate that.
Let me tell you – when I get discouraged about things that happen at the track, I try to keep everything in perspective. Fans tell me all the time about struggles they are going through, from dealing with cancer to supporting a loved one who is serving overseas in our military… you name it. We all have struggles, and it is those things that matter most. We do have a job to do, though, and that’s what we’ll focus on at the track.
Our goal is to finish strong. It would mean everything to our team to end on a high note.
There is no such thing in motorsports as a time when the pressure is off. We are always under pressure to perform. This ain’t driving to Church Sunday morning. This is the real deal. There are real consequences. That’s where we live, under pressure, and if you can’t perform under pressure, you can’t perform.
The only reason why I’m racing is to compete for a championship. To not be able to do that is gut-wrenching, but you can take that energy and turn it into negativity or you can take that and be positive.
I’m excited. The day I’m not excited about going to a race, I won’t do it. I’m excited about being in Charlotte. It’s a place where we’ve done well and conditions get better and better as the season unfolds and the temperatures cool down. I’m excited about playing spoiler. We’ll go out and make as much noise as we can and learn as much as we can to put ourselves in position to win.
This is the time we’ll see what my Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has. What I have. This is when we say “here’s what we can do.”
Our Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has a fight on our hands, and I can tell you one thing — we’re ready for it.
There’s only one race to go until the Countdown to the Championship, and we’re 10th in the NHRA Full Throttle Series Funny Car points, just a half-round out of ninth place.
We rolled the dice with some of the changes we had to make in Brainerd knowing: No. 1, we had two races before the Countdown begins; and No. 2, we are testing in Indy, so we’d have more time to shake down the changes.
We’ve struggled all year to get our car to go down the track consistently. It’s been a problem all season and was just magnified in Sonoma with the clutch failure. In Brainerd, our car was consistent on Friday, but it wasn’t fast enough. At the end of the day, conditions were good and teams were running in the 4.0s. The more we tried to stand on the tune-up the more temperamental the car became.
Now we’ll go straight to a test session in Indy this week.
Mentally, from a peace-of-mind standpoint, I’m thrilled to have this test session. The last thing we wanted to do was go to the race in Indy without making some clean runs.
At the end of the day, there’s no one more disappointed in how we’ve done the last few races than the guys who live and sleep with this race car and that includes me. We just have to get this thing fixed. Fortunately, we have this test session to do that, and trust me we are not far off. When you live on the edge of a razor blade a small move either way makes a big difference!
What we’ve found is the tuning window is too small. Nobody is perfect and right now our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang isn’t giving us a margin of error. We’re making adjustments to give ourselves a tuning window.
Being in the middle of such a tight points race means we get a lot of attention. We’ll try to think of it positively that way! I’ll tell you one thing, we want to steal as much TV time as we can for our sponsors, and from a drama standpoint, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang will get a whole lot of visibility at the Indy race!
I’m excited about Indy. It’s arguably our biggest race of the year, and I’ve done really well there. I’ve been to three final rounds in Indy, including last year’s runner-up to Mike Neff. I love being parked on that big stage. Our Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has always found a way to step up big when our backs are against the wall. I know we’ll do that again.
Hey, have you heard about this big Traxxas Nitro Shootout? This is a big deal for us! Everyone wants to make it into the big bonus event in Indy, so give us a vote on NHRA’s Facebook page!
Remember this slogan: “It’s not a race without a Shelby! Vote Tasca!”
VOTE TASCA NOW: http://www.facebook.com/NHRA
Dad and me suited up and ready to try bobsledding
Sixty-eight mph feels much faster in a bobsled than it does in my Ford.
Let me tell you, I’ve gone pretty fast in my day. I will never forget how it felt to hit the throttle on my Funny Car and actually take it on a full pass for the first time.
A bobsled is a whole other ball game.
I take my family on the Western Swing with me every year. That means three weeks in the motorhome together, but it’s the only time I can race and really spend time with my family at the same time.
This year after Denver we stopped in Park City, Utah. That’s where I met the bobsled.
My dad, crew man Geff Whitt, and the instructor all rode down together. Now, in my Motorcraft/Quick Lane Funny Car, I have a full carbon fiber body around me. In this thing? Just my helmet.
We all agreed that it was good to check this item off of our collective to-do lists, but I don’t think you’ll see us going back for another ride, especially my dad! I don't think he'll ever be the same.
Here are some photos from our Western Swing vacation. As you can see, we all had a lot of fun. It was good for the boys to see the athletes at Park City training for the Winter Olympics. They usually only see hockey! We even met up with Tony Pedregon and his family on the road again this year, at Train Town.
One of my favorite parts of this year’s Swing was my EcoBoost car in Seattle. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a photo! What do you think?
We were chosen to participate in Ford Racing’s Global EcoBoost movement – one car from every series Ford races in around the world will compete with the EcoBoost white, black and blue paint scheme during the month of August. This weekend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Matt Kenseth will race with the paint scheme in the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup series.
The EcoBoost car, for us, was something totally out-of-the-box. It really told the story about one of the most exciting technologies within Ford Motor Company.
I’ve said it before, but Ford EcoBoost is like having your cake and eating it too. That’s the best way I can describe it. It uses small engines that are turbo charged to give you great performance and great fuel economy. That’s what everyone is looking for now. It’s not just on small vehicles and engines — we’re talking from the Fusion all the way up to the F-150; from four cylinders up to six.
It was fun to be part of a global campaign to create awareness about technology that is really changing the way people think about buying vehicles.
Competition-wise, the Swing wasn’t what we hoped it would be. We had some issues, but as race teams we learn from them and move on. Points are really important now, and I told my guys our Countdown fight starts now. Really, there are three races before the Countdown: Brainerd, testing at Indy and Indy.
We have a seasoned, veteran team with Dickie Venables, Chris Cunningham and Marc Denner. These guys have been down this road many times. We have a talented crew. I'm as confident as I've ever been heading into this part of the season! I wouldn’t bet against us!
Speaking of betting for us — the big vote for the Traxxas Nitro Shootout is coming up! Stay tuned! We’ll show you how to vote us in.