Last diary we were on our way to Talladega. It was a great day. We were coming off a solid run at Martinsville when we were going there and we led laps again at Talladega which is always fun. I felt like we had a strong day but we got caught up in a really unfortunate set of circumstances which got me squeezed and spun out coming off turn 2. It didn’t do any damage to the car, we just got some fender damage when the tires went flat and I had to try and get back to pit lane.
It just took us time to fix that. We got caught a lap down and then never really got it back. It’s a frustrating end to what was a pretty strong day but always happy just to walk away from Talladega to be honest. It’s one of those racetracks where you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Then we went to Texas and that was a strong day. We finished 12th. We didn’t have a lot of speed in qualifying so we had to come from the back. We had a much better racecar than what I expected before the race started. I feel good about how we ran. We ran top 15 most of the day and deserved to finish 12th from that. A little bit luckier and we would have been well inside the top 10 so it was a good day for us.
Phoenix was just a real handful. It’s probably the most difficult race tire and track combination that we’ve been on all year. There’s a lot of front shake and slip on the right-side tire. It’s just very hard to get balance. Every drive was talking about the same stuff, it’s just who was able to make their bad-handling racecar handle the best. We fought all day. We lost a lap and finished 22nd so a little disappointed with the end result because at times we expect to run inside the top 10.
We’re going to Homestead-Miami to finish the season this week. I’ve had two races there. In one I couldn’t get out of my own way. The second race we led laps and qualified on the second row so it’s an odd track for me. The first time I ran I thought the track had me beat and I just couldn’t really understand how to get around the place and the next year I went back there I was really quick. I guess this year we’re going to see. I like it. It’s a nice warm place to be at this time of the year in the USA and a very fitting end to the championship.
We’ve got three drivers going down to the wire. I think all of us are very conscious of the fact that three guys want to duke it out fairly and I personally don’t want to influence the outcome if I can avoid it. I’m mindful of those three guys. We’ll go down there and have a party and try to see if we can win the race. But no one wants to be THAT guy.
We’re 27th in points right now which is really not what we wanted but we had such a bit of a hard road at the beginning either through mechanical or actions that were out of our control so really it’s just been a trying year. It’s been a year of change for all of us.
Obviously I’ve got a new direction going for 2011 and JTG does as well. I feel good about the year. We’ve finished it off the right way. We’ve had the same application at the last race as we had at the first race. I feel like I’ve done my job as best I can. We’ve got a chance to be top 25 in points. We’re really close to [Brad] Keselowski and one of the Red Bull cars and if we can at least get those guys and finish top 25 I’ll feel like we’ve done something.
As for my new team and all the uncertainty going on there, it definitely hasn’t gone as planned. RPM have been through a difficult period and they’re looking to stabilize their financial issues going into 2011. I support them 100%. I can’t wait to drive for them in 2011 with the help of Stanley and Ford and everyone else involved. I feel really confident that we’re going to come to a good outcome.
At this point all I can do is demonstrate my commitment to them and support them as much as I can through this time. On the other side, when you go through difficult periods like this, it just makes the bond stronger and gives us more desire to get out there and get it done.
As for off track stuff, I’ve built a new office so that’s kept me busy the last couple of months getting that ready for 2011 and just getting prepared for next year. I’ve been improving myself in Cup and you’ve got to keep bettering yourself and keep improving your personal life and your business life and everything else to make it as streamlined as you can so I’m excited about the changes I’ve made to make everything smoother. At the same time, we’re winding down now so I’m looking forward to getting a bit of family time back and getting that gold boat really working too.
We’ve been out a few times now in it and it’s working well. We’ve had to modify it two or three times to trap the gold that we want. We’ve had a few issues with trying to drown ourselves with it because we seemed to be taking on more water than we could get out of the boat. It’s been a bit of a challenge but I’m really excited about it. Hopefully we can make it a good story here in the new year and find a fresh fortune. It’s been a good journey this year on and off the racetrack and thanks very much for following us and hopefully we can do it again!
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The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.
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