Our 4th place finish at Daytona gave the team a whole new attitude. We know we can compete, and we know we can win, and we know we can do it on a consistent basis. The Daytona 250 ended, and the team met for their traditional debriefing. Needless to say, the tone of the meeting was a bit more "upbeat" than in past races. Each member of the team had good reason to be proud, because we almost won the race DESPITE having an injured truck.
I had the pleasure of staying at the track through Sunday, and I was able to watch the Busch race and the Daytona 500. The racing was great, and from the roof of our motor coach, I had the best seat in the house. When I left the track, I took a quick field trip down to Cape Canaveral, where I got to watch the Space Shuttle land. (And I thought WE needed good brakes!).
"Our Homestead truck was untested and unproven. I had not even sat in the truck until the first practice on Friday morning."
Continuing my trip south, I arrived in the Miami area midweek, so I parked the motor coach and took off for a quick excursion to the keys. You never realize how "un-tan" you are until you take your shirt off in the South Florida sunshine for the first time. After getting a little sunburn, I headed back to Homestead with a relaxed smile and a fresh supply of Solarcaine. Driver check-in was Thursday, and the first practice was Friday.
We unloaded a brand new truck for Homestead. The Daytona truck was packed up, driven to our home shop in Sandusky, Ohio, then a new truck was put on the hauler for the long trip back to Florida. (Hats off to our crew on the hauler!). Our Homestead truck was untested and unproven. I had not even sat in the truck until the first practice on Friday morning. This truck was built with a "drop snout", meaning the control arm pivot points are lower than normal. With a drop snout, you have a more aggressive setup that allows the truck to turn better in the corners.