Well, we did it in the knick of time. We locked ourselves into the Chase this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway -- the second to the last race before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup kicks off at Chicagoland Speedway on September 18th. We ended up running the Sprint Cup Race on Tuesday of this week, rather than on Sunday because of all the rain down South. It was nice of NASCAR to push it back to Tuesday and let the teams enjoy the day off -- it rained all day Monday anyways. I went back home to Charlotte, got caught up on some emails and did some stuff around the house. The best "off" days are the ones which are unexpected.
In Atlanta, we qualified 10th and were running up there early on. As the track continued to rubber in and change on us we were just fighting with loose conditions and we were making as many adjustments as we could on the car trying to fix the problems. We just needed the extra time on pit road to make the changes, we even fell back to 21st at one point. Luckily, we were able to work our way back up this time. Most of the year once we had lost our track position, we were stuck back there. It was great to be able to rebound and work our way back to the top. Our pit stops toward the end were absolutely perfect. We raced up to third, got passed up on the last lap, and finished fourth. It was a run that showed our potential and what we can do if we execute plans the proper way and make the right decisions. The “Double Deuce” team was really pumped up after that finish and I couldn't have asked for a better way to lock into the Chase.
We've had a great regular season -- it's nice to not have the worry headed into Richmond. Of course, we still want to win, but nothing compares to the nice comfort and peace of mind teams have when the Chase is so close. Now we can use this race to our advantage and work out any kinks and make sure that Dodge is ready to win when we hit Chicago next weekend!
Well -- it's officially football season! I want to wish Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears an exciting and successful season. I also wish the best of luck to the NBA players and the meetings going on this week in NYC. This season belongs to the Bulls -- I know it.
On a side note for all the golf fans in Chicago, you can join me at Rich Harvest Farms Golf Course in Sugar Grove Thursday, Sept. 15, along with Shell Oil for the SOPUS Charity Open. You can get more information and register at www.sopusopen.com. You can also enter to win a Penske-influenced Dodge Challenger. You can register to win it at your local Pennzoil oil change location or log onto Pennzoil.com to get a game token. If you can't win that car, you can buy a raffle ticket through the Kurt Busch Foundation to win another awesome Dodge Challenger. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I'd be so happy to see both of those Dodge Challengers on the streets in Chicago.
Only one race remains between the GEICO 400 and the Penske Dodge next weekend. I can't wait to be in Chicago and really enjoy the beautiful fall weather. Hopefully it holds up through race weekend; my team can't take another rain delay!