One of the toughest parts of being a racer is NOT racing. The first two weeks allowed the team to build up momentum … a fourth at Daytona, and a solid eighth at Homestead. The team is fourth in points. As a kid, you grow up dreaming about being in this position. We're now at the point where other teams are asking about US!
Then comes a mini-vacation. A three-week break where the team tries to remain in race mode. With two big races under our belts, we can review our notes, and learn from what we have and have not done. The problem is, you don't think about the things that normally go through your mind during a race week. If you're not careful, you become relaxed, and lose the momentum you've worked so hard to gain.
"When I'm not behind the wheel, I always try to find other things to keep me busy..."
During the next week or so, the team will still be prepping trucks for future races. Of course we're thinking about Phoenix, but there are lots of other tracks and races to prepare for. We'll probably be spending some time at Toledo Speedway. It's a high banked half-mile track that I cut me teeth on. I'll get some seat time there to try out some different setups, and hopefully we'll learn something valuable.
When I'm not behind the wheel, I always try to find other things to keep me busy. I was a mechanic before I drove race cars, so I'm always looking for an engine to build, or a hot rod that needs work. Once turning wrenches gets in your blood, you just can't shake it. Of course, there's my daughter Shelby, who's about to turn 7. There's nothing like a daughter to take your mind off life's little worries.
We hope the luck of the Irish is with us in Phoenix. I'll be traveling in my new "home away from home", a Fleetwood Discovery motor coach that is absolutely first class. Thanks to the guys at Tom Raper Motor Coach in Richmond, IN for setting me up with such a great ride. It goes a long way to make the rigors of the circuit a lot less stressful. When driving down the road, I often ask myself how this thing would do in the draft…
Volume IV Pages: