Double Duty

As most of you know, I am planning on running the entire Busch and Cup Series this year. This is something that I did in 2001 when I won the NASCAR Busch Series championship and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year award. It was probably one of my most successful seasons in my racing career.

People keep asking me why I decided to run both. The answer is simple, I love to race. If I wasn’t in the Busch car on Saturday’s then I would be racing something somewhere.

Running both series does have some extra travel with it but you won’t see me complain. Nashville is the first of three consecutive weekends this month that Busch races will be held in cities far from Cup races, adding extra travel to my already busy schedule.

When it comes to planning my travel, I depend on the people around me to get everything planned out. I surround myself with good people so I know everything is taken care of and well organized.

My week started out really busy and it’s just going to get busier. On Monday and Tuesday, I tested my Cup car at Virginia International Raceway, a road course about two hours from my house. We wanted to make sure our road course car was ready for the race in two weeks at Infineon Raceway in northern California. Last year, we didn’t have much luck there so this year we wanted to make sure we were ready for the challenge.

Then, on Wednesday, I was supposed to race in the NEXTEL Prelude to the Dream, but it was postponed due to rain. The race was going to be held at Tony Stewart’s dirt track in Ohio, Eldora Speedway. It’s a really cool event to be a part of. I think about two dozen NASCAR drivers and celebrities got together to put on a good show for the fans, but we’ll just have to wait until we go back to show them what we’ve got. The money we raise during the event will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and that’s the main reason why we were there.

I actually went to dirt track racing school last month and stopped by North Georgia Speedway on my way to Ohio for another last-minute tutoring session. That way I could put on a better showing than I did last year when I totaled Stewart’s car. I’ve only raced on dirt twice and I’m zero for two. I’m terrible. However, with this practice, I know just enough to be dangerous. I guess everyone will have to wait a few months to see what I have up my sleeve.

Thursday slowed down a little for me. I hung around KHI for most of the day and left for Pocono around 5 p.m.

Last year, we ran really well during both races at Pocono. That was the first time in a few years that we’ve done that well. The tires are softer now than they have been in the past so handling comes into effect a lot more than it did. Since they added the foot-high curb in the tunnel turn, it makes things a bit more challenging back there and the track is pretty rough. Pocono is one of those places where you have to have a good handling car, and you have to stay there for 500 miles and get through the day.

If first practice and qualifying is any indication of how we will do Sunday, it’s going to be a great race for the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevy and my team.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2006

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