- Sam Hornish Jr.
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Here it is, almost Halloween, and there are only three NASCAR Nationwide Series races left on the schedule. We are coming off a string of four and half months with a race every week -- that is a lot of travel and a lot of miles on the race track, too.
So after running 21 weeks straight in the Nationwide Series we had a weekend off. You would never guess what we did on that first weekend off -- we went to Talladega with visions of driving in the Cup series race.
It turns out Mother Nature had other plans for us as it rained, which resulted in qualifying getting canceled, and since there were 44 cars entered and we had only one previous Cup start this season (Kansas), we didn't make the starting field. It was tough to go down to Talladega and practice only to find out that we couldn't race. What made it even worse, we didn't get the chance to show off our SKF Ford for all of the guests and VIPs in attendance.
For that race, our partners at SKF debuted the latest addition to their business family, Kaydon Corp., which was the featured associate sponsor on our SKF Ford Fusion. Even though we didn't make the race, we stayed Sunday to spend some time at the hospitality tent.
While things didn't go the way we wanted where the race was concerned, we still made the best of the weekend. We did get to turn some laps in practice, enjoyed the time with our guests and we had a little fun with the family on Saturday night.
Motor Racing Outreach throws a Halloween Festival in the Talladega owner/driver lot playground on the Saturday evening before the race. They do a fantastic job of decorating the area with hay bales, scarecrows and jack-o-lanterns. It's a terrific event that allows the drivers with young families to take part in fun activities and do some trick-or-treating, too.
I don't usually dress up for this type of thing, but this year the girls talked me into letting them paint my face. They did a remarkably good job as I looked scary. That face paint is uncomfortable and it tastes terrible. It was fun, though, and I have to admit, I have a real hard time telling my daughters no when it comes to having fun.
We left the track Sunday afternoon and drove back to Mooresville. Over the first few days this week I will be doing my best to catch up with the various projects I have going around the house.
Lately, I've been working on the girls' tree house and painting the inside of the garage. The tree house is coming along nicely. I put in a retractable ladder that goes from the main floor to the loft, and I installed a neat circular window in the loft, too. Painting the garage is turning into one of those projects that start off looking simple enough, but then it turns into a major project. I don't mind, though, as I like to work with my hands and I like to stay busy. It's an enjoyable challenge and it keeps me learning something new all the time.
We will be going back to Ohio later in the week for a long weekend. Since most of our family lives there it will be nice to see them, and they miss us when we stay away too long. There will probably be a few more Halloween shenanigans, and there always seems to be a project or two that I have to do when we go to our home in Ohio. After that, I'll be focused on doing what we need to finish this season in style.
We have three races left -- Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. I like all three of those places. They all have special memories for me, and I hope to make them all even more memorable this time around.
Until next time, I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy Halloween with your families and maybe even do a little trick-or-treating.
Sam Hornish Jr. drives the No. 12 Ford Mustang for Penske Racing. He will share his thoughts on and off the track with ESPN.com readers periodically this season. Follow him on Twitter @samhornish and on Facebook.
Sam Hornish Jr. writes about a missed opportunity at Talladega, letting his girls paint his face for Halloween, and one cool-looking tree house.