We’ve been stuck in the middle of this long stretch of down time since Daytona, but I’ve done plenty to keep busy while we’re not racing. We tested a couple weeks ago at Martinsville in the truck, and we learned a lot from it. We’ve got a good package and the guys have been working really hard. We feel like we’ve got a good truck to perform well this weekend. Last time we talked, I mentioned that I would be racing my late model at South Boston Speedway. Unfortunately, that race didn’t go exactly as planned. We were good in practice and had a good game plan. But when the race started, around lap three, a guy in front of me broke an oil line or something and dripped some oil out. Of course, I hit it and we hit the wall, and it bent some stuff and we didn’t run too hot.
I’m pretty excited to be going to Martinsville this weekend. It’s not really one of your typical short tracks—you use a whole lot of brake in the corners, and then you have to get off the brake in the middle of the corner to let it roll and build speed. Whoever can do that the most can pick up the throttle sooner and that will win the race for them. This time last year, I made my Truck Series debut at Martinsville, but this time around I’m more confident. Last year, I was definitely a bit more nervous because it was my first time, but this year, we’ve already gotten a good start that we need to keep going. Last year I should’ve finished in the top 10 every race, and I at least finished in top 15 in all but two of the races. Those two were my fault and I’ve learned from it so I won’t do it again. We’ve always had some good speed; it’s just getting it all put together so we don’t make those mistakes again.
Beyond this weekend, we’ll be headed to Rockingham next weekend, and I’m pretty excited about it. We had a really good run there last year in my first start there. We struggled a lot when we first got there—I was overdriving the track a bit. But once the race started, we were running in the top 10 all day long. It’s another one of those tracks that’s close to home for me.
It’s pretty cool to have Chase Elliott racing with us this weekend. He and I both have famous dads, and sometimes people look at us as their kids instead of our own talent. I think Chase and I both agree that it’s good our dads were in the sport, and now that we’re in the sport they can help us. But once we get in the car, there’s not a whole lot they can do for us out there on the track, so we just do the best we can and try to make a name for ourselves.
Since we don’t have a whole lot of racing to talk about, let’s spend some time talking off-track interests. If I had all the money in the world, I might go buy some souped up, crazy looking car, but I bought my truck last year brand new. I really like my truck—she looked good when I got her all cleaned up recently.
When I’m not racing, I like to hunt and fish, hang out with my family and go to race car appearances. I do like to watch basketball and football games when I can. I’ve been watching the NCAA tournament, but my team lost after making it to the Elite Eight. I’m a big Duke basketball fan—I think Kevin Ware breaking his leg almost helped Louisville rally because they played differently after it happened. I almost think that if that hadn’t happened, the outcome may have been a bit different. I knew once that happened, it wasn’t good for Duke. I feel really bad for Ware with his leg—you’re doing something you love. It’s just like us in a way, but our body takes a different kind of damage. When we hit the wall, it’s really our brain taking the hit when your head hits the seat. But in basketball, all kinds of things can happen to any part of their body.
Something else I like to do is work out a whole lot. I try to work out three to four times a week. One day I’ll do my arms, the next day I’ll do my chest, my legs, cardio. And I’ll just switch around between that all the times. As far as music to keep the workout going, I really like to listen a lot of everything—rock, rap, country—Lil’ Wayne, Nickelback, and country I like it all. I play basketball with the guys at the shop three or four times a week just to get that time to interact with them. I try to go to the shop four or five times a week.
We’ll get to talk again in a few weeks and hopefully we’ll get to talk about a win then! Last year when I raced at Martinsville, I didn’t have quite the quality of equipment that I’ve got this year. I mean the guys worked hard for me and we did a good job with what we had. But this year, I feel like my life is going to be a whole lot easier with the equipment and the organization I have around me. I would say it’s a night an day difference.
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