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I cannot tell you how excited I am that we’re back at Daytona!! I had a great off-season and had plenty of time to relax, but I missed racing since we didn’t have testing. I am really looking forward to this season though, so when it came time to pack up and head down to Daytona last week, I was ready.
Thursday, February 5th was when we came down to Florida and that day is Media Day for all of us drivers in the Cup Series. We landed that morning and headed to the FOX elements shoot. Their shoot was really fun to do because those are all the video scenes you see when they cut to a commercial and are part of the pre-race show. We took some pictures of my adventures that morning to share with you, but those are always pretty fun to do. There was one scene where I was surrounded by fire, and man, was that hot!! Another scene that we shot video of was a Victory Lane scene where I got to pretend that I had just won a race. They gave me a bottle of champagne and we shook it up and went crazy! Confetti everywhere and a big pretend trophy… it was so cool!
After the FOX shoot we took a bunch of headshots for all the Press Pass trading cards you see around and then it was off to NASCAR’s Media Day. Every year the event takes place in a huge tent at Daytona and it’s filled with all the media that would like to get footage of us drivers… all under one roof. It’s always nice to see the media at the start of the season and this year it felt like the first day of school since we all hadn’t seen each other for an extra few weeks.
Thursday night was the Bud Draw Party for the Budweiser Shootout and I drew 15th. Not a bad draw, but when it’s up to the pick of a bottle it’s all luck and we knew we could make it work. Friday was practice and then Saturday night was the Shootout. What a race! We were sooo close to winning that race, but let me tell you, our car was awesome! It handled great and that Ford engine was powerful! I was so excited to get such a great finish for our Crown Royal Ford and it made our whole team really excited for this week’s Daytona 500.
So now we’re back in action today with practice for the Gatorade Duel races tomorrow. I’m in the first race tomorrow so today we’re just working on the car and making sure that it handles exactly how I need it to for tomorrow’s race.
We’ll see how everything goes, but I’m really looking ahead to this week’s races. Here’s to a great start to the 2009 season!