This past weekend was the last “off” one for the Nationwide Series until May. I headed out of town with some friends and the guys on the Dollar General team enjoyed a weekend with their friends and families, which is good because they work some long hours getting these Toyotas in tip-top shape. Last week the Cup team and I headed to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the NASCAR open test. It was the first test with the new spoiler that was open to all teams. We learned a lot and left feeling pretty good about our days there. Our next Cup race will be at Texas in a couple of weeks.
This week I flew out to Nashville a couple of days early. My sponsor, Dollar General, is based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. On Wednesday my crew chief, Trent [Owens] and I had lunch with the Dollar General employees in the Goodlettsville offices as they celebrated the announcement of their 2009 figures. Dollar General had a great year and is continuing to grow and expand. It was a lot fun to be with them for the celebration.
After we left DG, we went to the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center where we learned more about autism and the programs that the Kennedy Center has for children who have the disorder. We hung out with some of the kids and their families at the Reading Center and Trent read a book for their story hour. It was really cool to learn more about autism because his son was diagnosed with it last year. April is Autism Awareness month, and Dollar General has p
artnered with Autism Speaks to increase autism awareness and advocacy. Their goal is to raise $1 million for Autism Speaks during the month of April! We’ll be doing things all month to promote the campaign. Dollar General customers can make donations to Autism Speaks during checkout. Also, Dollar General donated $50,000 to kick off the month and will donate another $50K if Brian Vickers or I drive the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota to victory lane in April. I always want to win, but this month, I have one more reason! Actually 67 million reasons! It is estimated that that’s how many people around the world have autism.
This week I also was a part of NASCAR’s Nashville media tour. What’s that? Well, Ricky Carmichael, Scott Lagasse and I spent Wednesday night and all day Thursday appearing on a lot of Nashville TV and radio stations and meeting with members of the print press. Thursday night I was at the Nashville Race Fan Festival at Camping World. It was a good turnout and great to meet all the fans. Thank you to everyone who came out to visit us!
Well, I had better call it a night. We have two practice sessions on Friday. After final practice, I’m heading over to be a guest announcer on the Grand Ole Opry! Dollar General is a sponsor of the Opry. I’ve been to one before, but this will be my first time onstage. Then hopefully the rain will stay away and we can get in a great race at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday. It’s hard to believe they are celebrating 10 years of racing! I won there in 2005 and am hoping that this weekend we can do it again!
Thanks again for following me here and have a great weekend!
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