Riding the waveFriday, August 10, 2012

In this sport, there are usually far more lows than there are highs, so we are certainly making the most of this amazing wave we are riding this season and enjoying every minute of it. To be leading the points, have four wins and nine No. 1 Qualifier awards at this point of the season, is pretty unbelievable. I’ve been stressing consistency all year and it’s definitely paying off right now, as our Mopar Dodge Avenger is very, very fast.

We began the Western Swing a few weeks ago, with my favorite event of the year, the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. We’ve have had a lot of success there over the years. It’s a busy week when we are in Denver, but a very fun and rewarding one as well. It all starts with the Mopar Big Block Party on Thursday before the event, which is a great time. We get to meet a lot of fans that we only see once a year, and it’s amazing how passionate they are about the Mopar brand. Another fun part of the Big Block Party is that many of the executives from Mopar are there, and we are able to visit with them as well in a nice, relaxed setting.

Winning the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals during Mopar’s 75th Anniversary year was pretty cool. That ranks right up there as one of the most memorable wins of my career. To be able to give our friends at Mopar the Wally from that event to put in their trophy case in Auburn Hills, Mich., was very special. A lot of people have asked me what makes us so good in Denver, and I am a firm believer that practice makes perfect. We’ve tested a lot there, including the week before the event this year. We had a really good three-day test session and learned a lot that helped us during the event itself.

Sonoma was next up for us and we were fast again there, and had the quickest pass every time we took to the track on our way to the win on Sunday. When the car is that fast, it makes you confident that you can win, and it also helps me to settle down a little bit.

Every mark we are setting now is a career-high. The whole team is on cloud nine in one way, but we are also focused and cautious not to let that hinder our consistency and our plans for the remainder of the year. We have two races until the Countdown and our plan is more of the same. We want to be the fastest car down the track every single run, qualify No. 1 and put ourselves in a position to win the race. We have the car to do it in our Mopar Dodge Avenger, the power with our Mopar Hemi engines and the crew as well.

After our win in Denver, we kind of put celebrating off for a bit, because we had to ship an engine back home to work on it. Pam and I also headed back to Tennessee after that, so we just had a couple of days before heading back out west. After Sonoma, when we came back home, some of the local people who didn’t get to come to the races out west had a party for us. It definitely feels great to get to come home to something like that.

This weekend will be a nice relaxing one here at home. Pam has a ‘honey-do’ list for me, so hopefully I can get caught up on some of that. I can’t wait to get up to Brainerd and back in the Mopar Dodge Avenger next week, as we shoot for our fifth win and try to extend our points lead.