Wow, it’s been a wild ride the last few weeks, with six straight weekends of racing. You really see what you’re made of in these kinds of situations, and the Mopar Dodge Avenger crew came through the six-week gauntlet in awesome shape. We enter the last two races of the season at Vegas and Pomona with an 82-point lead in the standings.
Since I last checked in, we scored a runner-up finish at St. Louis. The venue was back in action after a one-year layoff, and it was great to return. The whole St. Louis area was fired up to have drag racing back, and there were great crowds. St. Louis has always been one of my favorite venues, and I love the city, which is very nice and clean. My wife Pam and I, along with our good friend Erica Enders, went to a St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium on Saturday night, before eliminations. Awesome stadium with a great design, and a great atmosphere.
Come Sunday at St. Louis, it was a bit crazy. Against my teammate Vincent Nobile, we both had trouble and had to get off the gas. I was able to get back under control and then beat Vincent to the finish line. We made it to the finals, where we raced Erica for the second weekend in a row. This time she took the win, but it was a good event overall for the Mopar/J&J Racing team, as we left with a 109-point lead.
Next up was the NHRA Reading event, and while I can’t say we got the result we were hoping for, we still have a good size lead with two events left in the Countdown. I made it to the quarterfinals where I lost to Dave Connolly, but even though I didn’t win, the Dodge boys had my back! V. Gaines, another Mopar Pro Stocker and great guy, ended up winning the whole event. I was very glad for V., and also glad he took out Jason Line, who is second in points. Jeg Coughlin Jr., another Dodge boy, took out Erica, who was in third-place, so that was also a big assist. Aside from the help it gave us in the standings, it’s always great to see our fellow Mopar Dodge drivers go rounds.
Just yesterday, Pam and I, along with my mom and dad, went to a Dining in the Dark event in Charlotte to help raise funds for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Very cool event for a good cause, with folks like Kasey Kahne, Mike Helton and Richard Childress also in attendance. Now with a break before Vegas, Pam and I are finally going to get some R&R at our second home down in Sanibel, Fla., this week. We haven’t been to our house down there in about eight weeks or so. Erica and Richie Stevens will join us, and it’ll be great to chill and enjoy down time.
Vegas will still be on my mind, though. We won there in the spring and have excellent notes. The Mopar Dodge Avenger team is close to our goal of a first Pro Stock title, but there’s still a lot of work to do, as all those folks behind us right now are great competitors and want the same thing as us. We look forward to the challenge!