This picture says it all
(Above) Riley bowling with us. (Below) Riley in the hospital as a "premie"...that is her Dad's wedding ring believe it or not...wow.
It's funny, because I looked back at my last blog on NHRA 's site was probably the only place you will see something with Justin Beiber in the same breath as the band Seether. Well, once again it has been an incredible and very busy last couple of weeks both on and off the track and I can't help but start with the on the track stuff first.
Backing up a little bit, we all enjoyed our Memorial Day weekend with family and friends and then I was able to do my one day shoot on the new Snake & Mongoose movie that is filming right now. Let me just tell you how cool this movie is going to be!
Anyway, back in Kansas I had a talk with Rahn Tobler and John Collins after we lost the final round in Topeka and they talked about going to our next race in Englishtown and the chance that we could see great conditions on our Friday night qualifying sessions and how he wanted to try some things that he had in the back of his mind if the conditions were there.
Well, as most of you know, the conditions were just that ...awesome. I strapped into the NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car with about four pairs of cars in front of us and already at that point, the cars were throwing mid 4.0 runs like they were going out of style and I knew when we finally rolled up to the line as the last pair of funny cars, that Tobler was looking for a big run.
When I was about half track I was pretty sure it was on a career best run for me and the NAPA team, but I had no idea that a 3.96 second run at over 320 mph was going to come up on the scoreboard. The quickest run in history for a Funny Car and the second run ever under four seconds (my teammate Hagan being the first) and it couldn’t have happened at a more historic track and with our thoughts still with Scott Kalitta, it was only appropriate that it happened that weekend .
Our NAPA Auto Parts team had a great time celebrating that night when we got back to our hotel and then it was business as usual for us as we concentrated on winning the race. We made some great runs on Sunday and Tobler and the NAPA team put us into our fifth straight final round, but we came up a little short and lost to our teammate Johnny Gray and the Service Central team in the final who ran a great 4.07.
I then hopped on a plane and headed straight back to Indy on Monday for a couple of reasons. We had the Riley Childrens Hospital bowling event that DSR and NAPA puts on in Indy every year and it was even more special this year as I got to spend some time with a girl named Riley that was a "premi" baby that was born something like 15 weeks early and here she was bowling next to us on this great night.
We had some really great drivers join us, DSR drivers as well as all the local drivers that live in Indy and we raised a lot of dollars for a very special cause that is close to Don Schumacher's heart.
Getting ready to leave Eagle Creek airport for Eldora with Capt. Rob
The next night was our annual Prelude to the Dream all-star dirt at Tony Stewart's Eldora track in Ohio and we had another great time as we had our usual group of people that went with me. This year captain Rob brought a jet for the flight over there and on top of that ,when we landed Tony Stewart arranged for me to hop into a waiting helicopter for a really cool and quick ride into the track. Leave it to "Smoke" to make it first class!
I just ran up Tuesday night to the 2012 Ink n Iron show in Long Beach to see my friends in the band Pennywise play their last U.S. show before heading over to Europe. I had a blast basically sitting right on the stage during their show and saw a bunch of NHRA fans as well.
As you know from following my Twitter or on this NHRA.com blog, we shot our annual commercials in Hawaii last year during my NAPA Auto Parts tour and the commercials we shot just started airing. You can check them out on our YouTube page here ( http://youtu.be/NaDX-uZfgQQ ), they are entertaining to say the least. There are two NAPA Auto Parts commercials and another one we shot for the local Dodge dealer on the big island as well. Hope you enjoy it.