Hello from Texas Motor Speedway! This is the sixth year that I have raced here. I first raced a Nationwide Series car in April, 2005. The next year, I drove in both series. This weekend, I will be driving in both races again, something I haven’t done at Texas since 2007. Of course, I’ll be easy to spot in my twin yellow and black No. 32 Dollar General Toyotas.
This will be my third Nationwide Series race this year in the No. 32. So far we’ve had a pretty good start to the season. Nashville was by far, our best race yet. We had a really strong car and I really thought we were going to catch the No. 33 and get the win. Three more laps and we would have had him! To win at Nashville and in Dollar General’s backyard would be great! I am already excited to get back there in June.
Last weekend we were in Phoenix. We didn’t have a bad weekend, but we just didn’t have the handling that we had there in the fall. The guys worked really hard on the car all day and during the race. Trent and I decided to gamble and take tires with about 60 laps to go. We were on our way to a top-five finish when a caution came out and killed our chances. Other teams took brand new tires on their final pit stop and we only had a set of 10-lap scuffed tires left. I drove as hard as I could but we ended up with a 12th-place finish, which just isn’t to the standards that the No. 32 team sets for itself each week.
This weekend is very important to everyone at Braun Racing and our sponsor, Dollar General. Qualifying the No. 32 car into Sunday’s Sprint Cup race will mean the first Cup race for Dollar General, something that we have been working very hard for. First we need to get through Friday’s qualifying session since we are not guaranteed a starting spot in the race. Fortunately Trent Owens, my crew chief on my Nationwide Series car, is also the crew chief on our Cup car. We will spend a lot of time together this weekend, focusing on two things: getting the Cup car into the race and getting the Nationwide car into victory lane.
Braun Racing has proven to be one of the best teams in the Nationwide Series. It is one of the few teams left that are considered “stand-alone” teams, meaning they aren’t affiliated with a full-time Cup team. However, they do see the need to expand and grow into the Cup Series. Dollar General also has that desire and the two teamed together to field a Cup car on a limited schedule in 2010. I was asked to drive that car and, knowing the importance to both Braun Racing and DG, I couldn’t be more proud. Far from the experienced Nationwide Series team that we are, we take each practice to learn as much as we possibly can. It is a different mindset, but we know that we are developing and growing. I am confident that we will qualify and I can’t wait to drive that Dollar General car in its first Cup race on Sunday.
Have a great weekend everyone and cheer hard for the No. 32 teams here at Texas!
A few more fan questions answered….
> Are you excited for the spoiler to come back? I know a lot of other drivers are. And… the Nationwide Series is going to run new cars as well… i different type of COT than Cup… and i was also wondering what your take on it is.
I am happy to see the spoilers back. I think it will add to the safety of the Cup cars. We’ve had way too many airborne cars lately. We tested with the spoiler at Charlotte and I liked the way it felt. As for the “new” Nationwide cars, it’s hard to say because we haven’t had one on the track. I’ll have to get back to you on that one!
> If you were to own a team and had a few seats to fill, who would you look at? I’m not talking super stars like Johnson, Logano, Gordon, etc, but some drivers that are either without a ride this year or are relegated to some struggling nationwide rides? Drivers that dont get alot of mention.
The economy has definitely taken its toll on the sport. There are a lot of good, experienced drivers who are without rides right now. Dave Blaney is one of the best examples. Scott Wimmer and Scott Riggs are a few others.
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