of times it’ll make a change in direction
and you have to try to anticipate it rather
than react to it. And that’s been the fun
part for me, more than anything – the
challenge of something that runs so
quick on such a small track.
Having crossed that off my bucket list,
what’s next? Eventually, I’m going to pilot
Tony Schumacher’s U.S. Army Top Fuel
dragster. Don Schumacher Racing is
owned by his dad and for the past couple
years, Don’s been trying to talk me into
doing a test with them. I don’t have any
aspirations to do anything more than
that, but that’s a cool opportunity.
Through our association with the
Army, we’ve had a chance to get to know
Don and Tony Schumacher really well,
and they’ve both been busting on me
about doing it, but for some reason
Don’s been a little harder. Anyway, I
finally caved last year at the U.S.
Nationals and told him I would. He’s
DIVERSE INTERESTS Driving anything
and everything has been one of the
hallmarks of Tony’s career. Back in
June it was a McLaren Formula 1 car.
However, occasionally sampling his own
900hp World of
Outlaws cars is
a more frequent
Smoke was very
proud to bring
home a win in
Next? Top Fuel!
made me feel comfortable and,
obviously, they have great
equipment. And Tony’s a
good guy: He’ll be a great
teacher. It’ll be fun and I
think trying the Top
Fuel car is pretty much
going to cap it all, as
far as covering my
bucket list of the cars I
want to drive.
What winning that
World of Outlaws race has
done is highlight the fact that
the only type of racecar we
haven’t won in is a sports car, so
eventually I want to get back in a
sports car and win a race there. If we
can do that, we would have covered all
the bases in individual classes.
On the NASCAR side, from an owner’s
perspective, the biggest thing this time
of year is just sponsors. I don’t know
what it’s been like in past years, but
hearing from different owners what it’s
like now, it’s probably the most
competitive environment it’s ever been.
The competition inside the racecar – what
we do on Sunday – is intense, but I can
tell you, what an owner does from
Monday through Thursday is just as
intense. There’s not much down time.
As for my season as a driver, I’ve been
fairly disappointed with it, in all
honesty. I feel very fortunate that we’re
where we’re at in the points right now
[10th after 22 rounds], proud of our guys
for being able to keep us there with the
luck we’ve been having this year. We’ve
just had terrible misfortune all season,
but at least it seems like we’re getting a
little more consistent. We’ve had good
racecars all year, we’ve just had all that
bad luck that has really, really hurt us.
If we ever get that turned around, I think
we’ll be fine.
So that’s it for now. Time to get ready
for the Chase for the Sprint Cup and do
our best to bring home a championship
for Ryan Newman and the No. 39 U.S.
Chevrolet or me and my No. 14 Office
Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy. Stay tuned, there’s
a lot of racing still to come this year.