Hey, everyone! We are gearing up for a busy month after a fairly quiet August, but I cannot wait for it to start! We hope for and expect big things!
The entire Michael Waltrip Racing team is heading to Greenville Pickens Speedway this weekend for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. Only three races remain in the season, so this race is a crucial one in the Championship battle. After our performance in the spring when we sat on the pole, led all the laps, and won the race, we hope to pick up right where we left off. In three starts at the Speedway, we have two poles, one win, and two top-five finishes, so I feel like it suits my driving style. It’s an older track with a more worn surface, and you really have to be careful how you drive it.
We tested there last week, and the test went very well. We were trying to decide whether we should bring back our winning car from last spring or our Ohio and Langley car, which was “scary fast”. Both cars were fast during testing, but we chose to bring the car that took us to Victory Lane in April. We think we have a good set up with that car, even with the hotter temperatures in September, and we expect to be a contender.
One important part of our team will be missing at Greenville - our Crew Chief, Mike Greci. Mike has been in and out of the hospital all month, and he won’t be able to be on the pit box calling the shots this weekend. He is doing much better now, so he may be able to make the trip to lend his support. Our interim Crew Chief will be Fuz Burgdoff. Fuz is one of the smartest guys I have ever met, and I am confident we can continue our performance with him leading the team. We may also have some guys from Martin Truex’s Cup team to help us as well, and it would be great to have the extra hands and the experience they would bring.
After Monday’s race, I will fly home to Iowa with my parents for what I consider to be the biggest dirt car race of the year, Super Nationals in Boone, IA. It is an amazing event due to the size of the field and the talent it draws. Although I haven’t been in a dirt car this year, I think I can get back in the groove pretty quickly. It’s a tough race, even to make the feature. Last year, there were 182 cars in the Sport Mod division, all trying to be one of only 30 cars to qualify for the main event. Luckily, I qualified and finished fifth, which was a very big accomplishment. Qualifying starts on Monday, but I will miss the first day, since we are racing at Greenville on Monday. Most competitors will have three chances to qualify, but realistically, my only chance will be on Tuesday, so there won’t be much room for error. Our Sport Mod will feature a look similar to our K&N Pro Series East car, and I can’t wait to share some pictures with you.
A big “thank you” to everyone who has been voting for me for NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver award! Please remember that you can vote once each day from each computer or mobile device you have, and every vote counts. The link to the voting page is: http://www.nascar.com/news/110719/2011-mpd-kneast/index.html
Have a great Labor Day weekend, and I’ll talk with you again soon!