Race Weekend Central

Jarit Johnson Driver Diary: Gearing Up for 2010 & Family Time

Right now, we’re taking care of getting ready for 2010. Over the wintertime, we pulled apart the car we ran at Dover, completely stripped it down and rebuilt it. It was a Cup car and we’ve made it into a K&N Pro Series car. We’re gearing up and trying to find some funding to make this happen on the level we want it to. We’re planning on going to Greenville-Pickens and will go from there. We have a lot of momentum right now and have some great marketing packages to offer. Just need to keep the momentum going.

It’s important to me to keep the crew together. We have a great bunch of guys and they are so dedicated to me and this program that I want to take care of them as much as I can and keep them going racing as well. Funding is tough for everyone right now, so it’s hard to put people on a solid salary, but we’re doing what we can. They are all die-hard racers. They want to do it for the passion of racing and nothing else. But we all have to eat, too!

As my career in racing grows, so are my kids. It’s hard to balance family life and racing. But the family comes first and I need to make sure they’re taken care of. Connor will be four in May and Lily is 19 months. My wife, Trinity, supports me 100% right now, but they don’t get to come to a lot of the races. Hopefully we can get some turnaround there and they can come to the races.

Connor loves racecars and he comes to the shop all the time and plays around with them. He’s even got his own little racecar I bought him a while back. I tied a rope to the end of it and he drove it around; I wanted to be able to pull him back if he was out of control. But he did really well. We need to get them to the track, too!

Being out on the road keeps me away on weekends. It’s tough to leave the family behind. I’m hopeful that we can reach a point where they can come along on the road. In addition to my crew and family, I’m trying to take care of myself as well. I’ve been working out in the offseason to mentally and physically prepare for the season.

I haven’t always had a set workout routine. I suppose I’m like most people; I do good for a while, then I fall off the wagon. I like to have a beer or two during the races on Sunday, so that can add some calories. But lately, I’ve been taking it more seriously. I’m doing some running and added a weight bench into the shop. The biggest thing for me is watching what I eat. I like to eat. So, I have to watch more carefully and cut back.

During the offeseaon, we went to Vegas for the NASCAR banquet. My brother won some type of award… I think it was like a fourth championship or something. Jimmie just called and said, “Hey, you want to go to Vegas?” and I said, I’m in.” All kidding aside, we had a great time and it was a moment that my family never could have dreamed up. My wife Trinity had never been to Las Vegas before, so it was a new experience for her.

My family grew up in off-road racing and many of the races were near Las Vegas, so we’ve been there many times. Trinity learned pretty quickly how fast Vegas can take your money! Let’s just say every walk through the casino was expensive!

Mostly, we like to be home. I travel with racing and like to just spend time at home when I can. We love to stay home and play out in the yard. We often have friends over and just barbecue and hang out. I’ve set my garage up as a kind of place to hang out. There are some old couches, a TV and a refrigerator. So people will often just drop in on race days and we all hang out in the garage. We really don’t go out and do a lot of crazy things. Those days have kind of passed.

We’ll take the kids and go to CC Railroad or Monkey Joe’s. We have a boat and we love going out on the lake in the summertime. On Sundays, we typically go over to Trinity’s grandparents’ house, ride their horses and mess around on the farm. Her Grandma always cooks up a big Southern meal… that’s one day I don’t really stick to the diet!

I’m looking forward to the first race of the year. Some teams have had a lot of time to prepare. Last year we got a car and went at the very last minute. We went down to Greenville and it was a scramble to get everything together. I’m a lot more prepared to make it this year and feel we’ll have a much better shot at bringing home the trophy!

We’re really looking forward to the start of the season. A lot will depend on sponsorship and how many races we can run. Right now, we are targeting six events, but obviously want to run the full season. Any sponsors out there, we have some great marketing opportunities! These days you have to get creative and we always look at the sponsor and really dig into what we can do for them to provide a lot of value both on and off the track.

I’m getting better at that side of the game. But the part I love the most about racing is when all those deals are done and I’m tightening the belts to take the green flag!

About the author

Amy is an 20-year veteran NASCAR writer and a six-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found working on her bi-weekly columns Holding A Pretty Wheel (Tuesdays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays). A New Hampshire native whose heart is in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.

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