Race Weekend Central

Jarit Johnson Driver Diary: Kicking Off 2010, 1 Big Project & 2 Easter Egg Hunts

We had everything put together for Greenville-Pickens. We pretty much had a new car to go down there with and off the trailer we were pretty good. In the first practice we were fifth to eighth. In the second practice the track got a little bit greasy and we fell off a little bit. We dropped back in qualifying to 11th.

We started the race and were running good. We got up to eighth and we were sitting there riding for the first 40-50 laps. Then on a restart, somebody missed a shift and we got in the back of them and caved the nose in and all the ductwork. That put us a lap down and we ended up making up three laps that night. We kept getting stuck in the back and getting caught up in stuff that had nothing to do with us.

It was a rough weekend, but we ended up finishing 12th. It was OK, but we had to cut the whole body off the car – we’re hanging the new body on it as we speak. We’ll go on from there.

Right now, this car that we took to Greenville, we’ve designated that as our short-track car. We’ve got another car here that got wrecked at Thompson last year that we’re fixing, and we plan on taking that car to Iowa, both Loudon races and Dover. We only have two cars, so whatever car is in better shape that can make it to the next race, we’ll take that car. We just keep trying to move this team along.

I had Racing 2 Cure on board as a sponsor. We donated the hood and quarterpanels to the non-profit and they set up their display trailer at the track. Racing 2 Cure is a great organization that is helping families who are going through cancer. It was started by my good friend and business manager’s 7-year old nephew when his mom was going through breast cancer. Ironically she was just diagnosed again a few days before the Greenville race. She was there with her family and they all had a good time. Hopefully at some point we’ll be able to do more with them.

When I come off a race I have to refocus back to my business. I’m rebuilding one of Jimmie’s off-road trucks. It’s pretty wild. He raced it back in the ’90s; Nelson and Nelson was a factory-backed Chevrolet off-road team and this truck has been racing the past several years since the Nelsons sold it. We found it out in California and Jimmie ended up buying it, so now I’m restoring the whole thing, getting it ready to go to his warehouse.

He has a big warehouse with a bunch of old cars he used to race. So we’re restoring this old thing and it’s a big project for us to do back here in North Carolina. All the off-road stuff is mainly out in California, so there are a lot of parts and pieces that we have to get shipped out from California and get rebuilt, so it’s a big project!

I do a lot of general fabrication too. We just got set up to hang our own bodies, which will cut costs a lot. We’ll work on racecars. The majority of the cars that I do restore are Jimmie’s. I have another guy here who is a private collector and I picked him up a car and I’ve been working on that a little bit. We’ll do just about anything!

For Easter, we stayed at home. On Saturday we took the kids down to a plantation for an Easter egg hunt and all that good stuff, and we went over to Grandma’s on Sunday and hung out there and had another Easter egg hunt, so we just kind of hung around home and enjoyed the great weather.

About the author

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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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