Recapping JuneFriday, June 29, 2012

Thursday before Bristol, I went to Snap-on headquarters in Kenosha, Wis., for the Wounded Warrior Ride. This was a special event where we unveiled the paint scheme for the Chicago race. I got to meet many heroes and listen to their stories. It’s amazing what these veterans have sacrificed for our freedom. Toby Montoya spoke to a large group and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the crowd. He along with about 15 other Wounded Warriors and their guests will join us this weekend in Chicago so come by and show your appreciation!

Bristol was a race that we had to recover from our E-town event where we struggled just to get the car to go down the track. We misfired both runs on Friday but the good news is we’ve recognized the problem area, the clutch department. On Saturday, we answered the call. We finally got the car adjusted properly and made two great runs. We ran a 4.12 on a 121-degree track (quickest run of the session) which got us three bonus points and a 4.14 (4th quick). We hadn’t made two solid back to back runs in a while so that gave us a lot of confidence going into race day. Sunday, there was a little question and controversy over the race track. I’ve never been one to make excuses or blame the track. I always feel like the track conditions are what they are and we all must adjust accordingly. There were a lot of cars spinning the tires on the left lane and we were no different. Looking back on it, I think we were just good old fashioned too aggressive. We were trying to go faster than the track would allow and it bit us. It was a tough loss but I feel like every time we have these miscues, we learn something. The idea now is to start fine tuning because we’re getting into the summer and every track is going to have its challenges. I’m as confident as I’ve ever been. Lee and I looked at the data and know there are things we could’ve done different. I’ve been working with Tony to setup his car and we made some good runs with it, five out of six down the track, and all competitive. I’m happy for Tony that he’s getting back on track.

I spent last Thursday and Friday with my good friend Glenn Styres and his crew at Ohsweken Speedway. I ran a 360 winged sprint car at his track and had a lot of fun. Most of my funny car crew was there and everyone enjoyed watching some dirt track racing. Next, Tony and I went to Toronto Motorsports Park for a two day match race. We pulled out our brand new McKinney car. It’s lightweight, with titanium all over. There’s nothing wrong with our old car, but we’re just preparing as we get into the busy and most important part of our season. We want to start edging our way back into the top five so we want to make sure that we have our best equipment out on the race track. We made three runs and ended up setting the track record and becoming the Canadian National Champions!

Last but not least, the Prelude to the Dream, what an event! Feed the Children Foundation was the organization that received the profits of that awesome event. Tony Stewart always has a first class staff and really welcomes all the drivers. I’m so glad to be a part of it and between myself and Ron Capps, we represented drag racing well. I started 18th and worked myself up to 3rd right behind Kasey Kahne and Kyle Bush. When Kasey got into a spin, I got bumped to 2nd but there were still 15 laps to go and I just lost grip so I ended 7th.  The cars that passed me were none other than guys like Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, and Donny Shatz (World of Outlaws). To run up front with the greatest drivers out there was amazing. Also, by finishing in the top ten, I got to send a food truck to a city of my choice. I chose El Paso, Texas, where my Dad was from and we still have family out there so it’s a special place to me.

We race at the track in Chicago this weekend and it’s close to Indy, so it's like a home track for us. It's a race that I'd love to win! It's a track that I've never won at and those are where you really want to punch it in. We're also going to run the Wounded Warrior special paint scheme this weekend so we'll have a big group from Snap-on and Wounded Warriors out there. I don't look at is as pressure, but a really big cheering section.