Once the race went back to green, the damage to the nose caused us to lose the draft. We could not hang with the lead pack because of the nose damage, forcing us to drop back about 20 seconds or so in sixth place. Fortunately, another caution came out, allowing us to make the truck even more aerodynamic. The truck was better, but not perfect. We caught up, got up to second, but got pinched down onto the apron, as the leader tried to protect his position. (Heck ... I would have done the same thing!) It was scary, but cooler heads prevailed. A lapped truck was staying with us leaders in an attempt to get his lap back, but this allowed rest of the top trucks to catch up. I supposedly had a "deal" to work with the #60 truck in the final laps, but he wanted to make his move before I did. I went to the outside, and the third place truck went by both of us. At the white flag, I caught back up, and got fourth, and ended up only .324 seconds back. This race had 31 lead changes and the Sealmaster / Transmission Technologies Corporation Chevrolet led about 7 laps, making for a good pay day, and an excellent momentum booster for the entire team.
"I want to wish everybody a speedy recovery..."
Final Words: Some people got injured in this event, including Geoffrey Bodine and a few spectators in the stands. I want to wish everybody a speedy recovery, and hope this incident does not damper the fan's viewpoint of this series. People should remember the racing, and not the accident. NASCAR does a miraculous job of creating a safe sport for everybody involved, including the drivers and fans alike. Without their attention to safety, this accident could have been much more tragic for everybody involved.
Daytona was good for us. Highs and lows aside, it shows that hard work, determination and a cool head can pay off in the end. We look forward to good things at Homestead and beyond!
Looking ahead to Homestead
We always run well there, and we look forward to maintaining our momentum. We are heading directly down there from Daytona, and will be preparing both physically AND mentally. On the physical side, you need to prepare for the humidity and heat. I will drink lots of fluids, stay in the motor coach to stay cool, and eat pasta to boost my carbs. On the mental side, the entire team will need to get focused. This is a flat track that carries high speeds, meaning aerodynamics will again be important. Unlike Daytona however, this track has very long corners, and you must have a strong motor that can produce lots of torque. At Daytona, our engine speed varied only about 500 RPM's per lap. At Homestead, we will be set up to run a very wide range of rev's and, we'll need to rely upon a good set of brakes. Our history at this track is sketchy. We've qualified well, but in both the races we've ran here, we've destroyed our trucks. For the first time, I'll be driving on my birthday. It's going to be another special day, and we look forward to breaking our streak of tough luck.
Volume II Pages: