I’m back at Richmond International Raceway this weekend. This will be my sixth Nationwide Series race here, but the first since May of 2007! I’m looking forward to being back in the No. 32 car this weekend. We’ve had a great year together so far. And after a second-place run at Nashville and a third place at Texas, I’m ready to win one! This is the last weekend for the Autism Speaks campaign with Dollar General and if we can get this car to victory lane, we’ll raise $50,000 for Autism Speaks. I know this wouldn’t just mean a lot to me, but also to the team and especially my crew chief, Trent Owens, because his son has autism. We’ve had some great runs in April, now it’s time to end the month on a high note!
We had a big weekend at Texas a couple of weeks ago, making the first Sprint Cup Series start in the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota. This was Dollar General’s first Cup race as a primary sponsor and Trent’s first Cup race as a crew chief. The guys did a great job all weekend long! We lost a lot of valuable practice time when everything was cancelled on Saturday because of the rain. We ended up racing on Monday morning. Every time we came to pit road, we had good pit stops and made the right adjustments. The car kept getting better and better, and we had great horse power! We would have had a good finish except for a little bad luck: we had an electrical short that took us out of the race. It was frustrating and disappointing, but I am really proud of the team for all their work and everything we learned! It is very rewarding and exciting to be a part of something brand new.
After the Cup race at Texas, I climbed into the Nationwide Series car and we ran that race that afternoon. If we had completed the morning race, it would have been 800 miles around Texas Motor Speedway! It was definitely a long day. We finished third in the Nationwide race. The car was perfect by the end; we just didn’t have enough to catch the No. 18 and No. 20. We’ll get them before this year is over, though. I have a good feeling about that.
Last weekend we had more rain at Talladega and another postponed race. With Vickers in the No. 32, I was asked to drive Braun Racing’s No. 10 Toyota. We had a great qualifying lap and started the race in the sixth spot. The car was handling fantastic, just running a little hot in the draft. When I dropped back, we cooled off, and I decided to start to move to the front again. Unfortunately, as I was moving on the outside, someone got wrecked on the inside and slammed into the driver-side of my car. I hit the outside wall hard and then darted across the field and towards the inside wall. It took me a second to catch my breath and tell the guys I was fine. Needless to say, our day was over. But the No. 10 team did a great job giving me a good car! I really wish I could have gotten them a better finish.
Well, I had better run. We have a full day here at Richmond. Practice, qualifying and we race tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tune in on ESPN2! Have a great weekend everyone and cheer hard for the No. 32 team!