Oh so closeFriday, June 22, 2012

Bristol week is always a special one for us, since that’s our home race. I’ve been wanting to win at Bristol for a long, long time and just about got one last weekend on Father’s Day.

While the drive from the shop to Bristol is the shortest one we make all season, the days leading up to the Thunder Valley Nationals are some of the busiest of the year. We have the chance to entertain family, friends and employees at the track, which is always enjoyable. A lot of effort goes into the behind-the-scenes details for Bristol, especially making sure you have enough tickets for everyone. It’s all worth it though, because you are paying people back who support you all year. It’s a lot of fun for the people that follow us to get to come out to the track and see firsthand what we do.

One of the highlights off the track during Bristol week is getting to hit the links for the Speedway Children’s Charities golf outing. They had another great turnout this year and a picture-perfect day as well. It’s always a special event, as Speedway Children’s Charities helps so many unfortunate kids and does such great work. On the course, we didn’t do too bad. I think we shot about a 12-under par. While we weren’t quite in first-place, we had a ton of fun and helped a fantastic cause.

At the track, we started the weekend off as the No. 1 Qualifier in our Mopar Dodge Avenger, and got to do a few extra media interviews thanks to that. Anytime you can do good at Bristol, it’s awesome. We’re just tickled to death to do well there, and to qualify No. 1 three straight times there is a victory to Dad (Roy Johnson) and the Mopar Hemi engines he builds. Vincent (Nobile) and I were first and second for a couple of the rounds. We had a good strong performance in qualifying there, as we have for most of the season.

We made a really nice run in the final and did everything correct. It just wasn’t our day to win. We made some history by finishing in a dead heat, but unfortunately we were on the wrong side of it. We had a great day and weekend for that matter, it just wasn’t meant to be. You can’t get mad about it. We gave it everything we had and any other day that would have been a win. Mike Edwards did a great job as well, and my hat’s off to him and his team.

Racing on Father’s Day is always special, especially since my dad is at the track with us each week. I had a lot of people come up to me over the course of the weekend that don’t have fathers anymore and they say how fortunate I am to have my father at the track with me and to savor every minute of it, and I certainly do. To be able to see him doing what he loves is very special.

This week I’ve gotten to enjoy the beautiful weather we are having here in Tennessee, and came down to the lake with the grandkids and some friends for a couple of days of tubing and fishing and just having fun. I’m headed home tonight, and Pam and I are flying down on Saturday morning to Florida to spend the weekend in Sanibel.

Next week we’ll go up to Chicago with our Mopar Dodge Avenger and try to pick up where we left off at Bristol. Our goal is to be the fastest car every round in qualifying, open eliminations from that No. 1 position, and then win the race. We have a lot of momentum right now and it feels really good.