Since the last diary we’ve been to Atlanta, Richmond, Chicago and New Hampshire. That’s a tough run right there. We haven’t done much really in four weeks.
We’ve been stepping on ourselves a little bit. We had a good Chicago and were running in the top 10 and got dumped by Kevin Harvick in pit lane coming to the last pit stop. We spun sideways and damaged the nose. It was a good run for us, ran top 10 all day, but just couldn’t close the deal.
Atlanta was just OK. We got rained out there and we just didn’t quite get the car right. We battled and finished 21st. It was just a long day. We didn’t quite have the speed that we wanted but we weren’t disgraceful.
Richmond was a disaster. We qualified badly and got caught up in a whole bunch of messes. We had lots to race for that night too. We were racing for a spot in the Chase and it just didn’t go our way. We got caught up in a couple of early incidents that just weren’t our doing and then got in a bit of a pinch trying to get back track position. We ran into Brian Vickers and got into a bit of an argument with him and ruined our night. It was disappointing.
New Hampshire was also a very tough day for us. We never hit it all weekend and struggled with the car and limped home to a 30th-place finish. It was probably our worst race of the year so it was very disappointing. We’re still not sure what really happened. From the moment we got there until the moment we left we never really got going. We couldn’t get the balance of the car.
We’re going to Dover next. We finished good there in the spring so I like our chances this time around. It’s been a good track for me in the past. We need to just finish this year off with some momentum. We need to string together a few top fives and top 10s and get ready for 2012.
The emphasis is on finishing the year strong and looking toward next year. But that’s maybe part of the problem. We’re trying a few things and they haven’t really worked out but we haven’t really lost that much. We want to try and win races and we’re trying to do it without changing our efforts. We still have a few more chances.
I haven’t been up to much off the track. This time of year we’re just trying to get to the end and stay committed to training and staying focused. It’s not that easy when you get to less than 10 races to go and you’re on the road a lot and you’re looking toward the end, you need to keep your head and mind in the game. So I’m just really focused on my efforts at fitness and just keeping myself in the game. I’m just trying not to change anything before the end of the year.
As far as trying to get some wins before the end of the year, there’s a few tracks we like on the schedule. This race at Dover is important to us. We’re pretty focused too, we’ve got some good 1.5-mile speedways coming up. Charlotte sticks out. We’ve got a new surface in Phoenix that everybody has to get used to. There are plenty of opportunities.
The show we shot earlier this year where I went prospecting is airing soon. It’s called Gold Fever and it premiers on the Outdoor Channel on Saturday, Oct. 8 at noon. David Ragan joined us too. We have a preview of it posted on my Facebook page.
Our late model team with George Miedecke is still going. They won the pole last week but then crashed out on the first lap. He’s showing plenty of speed, he’s just not quite closing the deal either. He’s doing really well. He’s still third in the points and he’s got a few races to go. He’s done great. He’s got a lot of opportunities so we’re just going to try to finish up the year strong and let him land in the best opportunity.
He’s got a few contract offers so we’re looking forward to that. We’ve already got another driver lined up for next year, Ben Rhodes. He’s from Kentucky and he’s very young. He’s 14 so by the time he gets to late model season next year he’s going to be 15. We’ve got him already signed up and he’s going to be part of our program in 2012 going forward.
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